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This month in medical poetry: March

Welcome to the first edition of a new monthly feature here at Canadian Medicine: "This month in medical poetry." (Yes, I know it's April now. Oh well.)

The practice of publishing poetry in medical journals is fairly widespread. The leaders, so far as I know, are the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which both publish poetry in just about every issue. I should note, however, that I use the word 'leaders' loosely here -- many of the poems that appear in these journals, and others, are spectacularly bad. And therein lies much of the fun in reading them.

By the way, that man pictured above is Dr William Carlos Williams, the patron saint of doctor-poets, a man better known for his poetry than his pediatrics work.

You can check out all the poems in CMAJ and JAMA from March below:


"Joceyln's choice" by Dr Tara Tucker, CMAJ, March 25
The full text is available on the CMAJ's website. Here's a taste -- brace yourself:

Dignity lost, depths of pain so vast
"Total Pain" we called it
Spiritual
Physical
Emotional
Social
what more was there to hurt?
we named it, you understood

"Ladan and Laleh" by Dr Normand Carrey, CMAJ, March 11


"" by Dr Frank DeCicco, JAMA*, March 26

"" by Dr Frank DeCicco, JAMA, March 19

"" by Dr Frank DeCicco, JAMA, March 12

"" by Dr Frank DeCicco, JAMA, March 5

*JAMA requires an online subscription, unfortunately. These links lead to versions that are sometimes abbreviated if the poems are longer, but I encourage you to find a password and read the whole things.


How to submit your poem
CMAJ uses a service called Manuscript Central to manage their submissions; you can visit their page . There's information for potential authors on their website.

JAMA's poetry editor is Charlene Breedlove, an associate editor with the journal. Submissions are to be sent to . JAMA also uses , but apparently not for poetry.

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