Taking a stanza: Simon Armitage cancer poem engraved on a pill

Poet laureate’s second work in his official capacity honours a planned new research centre and has been carved into a tiny tabletSimon Armitage’s latest poem, a “bullet / with cancer’s name / carved brazenly on it”, is yet to be printed or...

Taking a stanza: Simon Armitage cancer poem engraved on a pill

Poet laureate’s second work in his official capacity honours a planned new research centre and has been carved into a tiny tablet

Simon Armitage’s latest poem, a “bullet / with cancer’s name / carved brazenly on it”, is yet to be printed or read aloud by the poet laureate from the stage. Instead, the work has been engraved by micro-artist Graham Short on to a 2cm x 1cm chemotherapy pill, in what Short said was probably the hardest job had had ever done.

Entitled Finishing It, the poem – Armitage’s second as poet laureate – was commissioned by the Institute of Cancer Research in London. It is intended to symbolise the new generation of cancer treatments that the Institute’s planned Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery will create, and which it hopes will turn cancer into a manageable disease.

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