Synopses & Reviews
Until recently, many in the Western world regarded medicine as a wholly scientific pursuit, separate from and even antithetical to spiritual and artistic concerns. Yet every physician who acknowledges uncertainty as a recurring factor in medical practice understands the fallibility of science and technology.
Blood and Bone: Poems by Physicians explores the profound connections between medicine and poetry through the eyes of contemporary physician-poets. These one hundred poems record instances of pain and recovery, joy and grief, humor and irony within the restricted society of loon and their patients.
The editors of this anthology have divided the poems into four sections to reflect the depth and diversity of the physician experience. Poems in the first and largest group show doctors in the clinical setting, dealing directly with their patients and the diseases that plague them. The subsequent sections bring together poems that explore the doctors' private worlds and family relationships and the passing on of knowledge through the teacher-student relationship. Finally, these physicians turn their attention outward toward larger social and cultural concerns.
Throughout, it is evident that medicine and poetry draw from the same deep well. At the heart of the medical encounter is the poetic act of witnessing, simply standing in the presence of suffering -- an experience that cannot be fully expressed in scientific terms. Doctors and patients alike experience meaning in suffering and illness. In medicine and in poetry they find a network of healing symbols.