4 December 2023

By Sam Alexandra Rose

Our Patient and Public Involvement Manager Sam blogs monthly for Bowel Research UK, sharing her experiences of bowel cancer and Lynch Syndrome.  In her latest blog post, Sam previews the charity’s first book of poems which she curated and was recently launched at the end of last month.


On Wednesday 24th November we had a lovely mid-week interlude at Bowel Research UK in the form of a poetry reading! The occasion was the publication of our first ever poetry book, titled What Our Guts Tell Us which we celebrated with a virtual book launch event.

The book is an anthology of eighteen poems written by bowel cancer and bowel disease patients, their family members and carers. The poems range from funny limericks and bathroom observations to touching tributes to loved ones who have passed away. The book’s cover artwork – front and back – also came from people affected by bowel conditions.

On the night of the virtual launch, we were delighted to listen to readings from eleven people involved in the book, including me and Bowel Research UK’s very own CEO Lynn Dunne. As Lynn and I are interested in creative writing and are bowel disease patients ourselves, we were both took enormous pleasure from being involved in such a personal project.

At the launch, I was very pleased to comment on the creativity and bravery of everyone involved, and how we were so grateful for their support in this project because bowel cancer and bowel disease are very difficult conditions to deal with. It is no easy feat to create beautiful writing and artwork in response to often traumatic experiences. We salute everyone’s courage in sharing their creative work with the world, and we believe this is what makes this book so special.

The evening was gentle and supportive, and the conversation continued well after the poetry readings had finished. Poetry is certainly a conversation starter and as there is still stigma associated with bowel disease and toilet habits, it is important that we continue to encourage these conversations in any way we can.

If you want to watch the book launch event, you can do so here. The print book costs £5.99 and the eBook is £4.45. From the sale of every copy, £3.11 goes directly to help Bowel Research UK fund further pioneering medical research into bowel cancer and bowel disease. Pick up your copy today – it could make a lovely Christmas gift for someone special!

Once again, we are grateful to all the writers and artists featured in the book, and here is the full list of contributors:

Adeline Willis
Alicia Cropley
Daphne M. Larner
Deborah Taylor
Dr Eva A Sprecher
Eabhan Ní Shuileabháin
Emma Critchley
Emma Hawkey
Emma Jenkins
Gwyn Parry
Lorna Marter
Lynn Dunne
Mrs Shah
Sally Gilson
Sam Alexandra Rose
Sarah Clasper
Sarah Lloyd
Sharon Tiday