Fran Castan, a poet residing at Peconic Landing in Greenport, has been awarded the United Kingdom’s Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine.
Castan, a writer and teacher, was chosen among entrants from 37 countries, each writing on a medical theme. In her first place poem entitled “Voice Mail,” Castan creatively captures the heartbreaking story of a dear friend’s battle with cancer.
“When my friend, the poet Siv Cedering, was suffering from her final illness, she worked on a book of poems, indicative of her hopeful, positive attitude,” Castan said. “I would visit frequently, helping to prepare her work for publication. At the same time, I was writing poems as witness to our experiences during her heroic struggle. ‘Voice Mail’ is one.”
The prestigious award, which earned Castan £1,000 and publication in the Hippocrates Society’s yearly anthology, was judged by New York Times senior correspondent Anne Barnard, poet Keki Daruwalla from India, and others.
“The outpouring of work was a joyous and painful reminder of how people around the world sought to create even during this difficult year,” Barnard said.
Fran Castan is author of “The Widow’s Quilt” (1996), a poetry collection, and “Venice: City That Paints Itself” (2010), a collection of her poems and of paintings by her late husband, Lewis Zacks. Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Lucille Medwick Award and a joint award from N.Y.U. and The Academy of American Poets. She was also named Long Island Poet of the Year 2013 by The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. Castan, a member of Peconic Landing, currently teaches a poetry appreciation class in the community’s academic program, Lifetime Learning.
“Ms. Castan is an integral member of our community and she truly embodies our philosophy of continued growth toward successful living at all ages,” said Robert J. Syron, President and CEO of Peconic Landing. “On behalf of the Peconic Landing family, we congratulate her on this prestigious award.”
To learn more or to purchase the 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology, visit hippocrates-poetry.org.