Friday, December 2, 2011

A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine, My Stethoscope, and Thou

Renowned poets John Keats and William Carlos Williams, among others, were trained as doctors, and between poetry and medicine—or between medicine and any creative endeavor—there is some blood relationship, a reminder of the not-yet-anachronistic concept of medicine as both art and science. An article in the New York Times Thursday by Pauline Chen, M.D., reports on the remarkable response of medical students at Yale University School of Medicine and the University College London Medical School to poetry contests offered at the two schools. “It was rare in my generation for doctors to write poems, but I think there’s a new interest in poetry and how it can arise from what we do,” said John Martin, M.D., organizer of the competition and a professor of cardiovascular medicine at University College London.

At least one psychiatrist, Richard Berlin, M.D., has achieved acclaim for his work as a poet. For a report on Berlin, see Psychiatric News.

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