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Primary Care
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Medicine has always been an emotionally and spiritually challenging profession. Today, confronted with the rapid progress of technology, the shifting sands of health care economics, and glaring disparities in health care and human rights, physicians experience challenges that grow constantly more demanding. As a result, many doctors attempt to build into their lives opportunities for reflection and self-awareness. It is in this context that medical poetry has blossomed. ""Primary Care"", the second anthology of physician poems edited by Angela Belli and Jack Coulehan, proves that the poetry movement in medicine continues to flourish. Fifty-two contemporary physician poets contribute one hundred poems that explore medical practice, interpersonal relationships, and the modern world. Their poems record instances of pain and suffering, joy and grief, humor and irony. Their subjects range from caregivers, patients, trainees, and teachers to poverty, injustice, and war throughout the world. In some cases, we find the poets in their professional milieu as they reveal interactions with patients and colleagues. Other poems address private worlds and family relationships. In others, the poets turn outward and direct their attention to social and global concerns. Characterized by an immense and kind-hearted sympathy for and empathy with those who are suffering, the poets recognize that everyone's life is diminished by the trauma of illness and death.
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About the Author

Angela Belli is professor of English at St. John's University, recent president of the New York College English Association, and author of Ancient Greek Myths and Modern Drama and the forthcoming book Bodies and Barriers: Dramas of Dis-ease. Her essays and reviews have appeared in publications including Journal of Poetry Therapy, Literature and Medicine, the Journal of Medical Humanities, Social Sciences and Medicine, and Medical Heritage. Jack Coulehan teaches and practices medicine at Stony Brook University. His poems and stories appear frequently in literary magazines and medical journals and have been widely anthologized. He has published four collections of poetry, most recently Medical Stone. His other books include Chekhov's Doctors and The Medical Interviews: Mastering Skills for Clinical Practice. Together, Belli and Coulehan edited Blood and Bone: Poems by Physicians (IOWA 1998).

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"There is much to admire in this collection of poems by fifty-two doctors. The number alone is astonishing, when one remembers that half a century ago, there were only one or two of us engaged in both medicine and writing. It is a measure of the growth and the maturity of medicine that our profession can so powerfully declare its own humanity through the art of poetry."---Richard Selzer, surgeon and author, Letters to a Young Doctor There is much to admire in this collection of poems by fifty-two doctors. The number alone is astonishing, when one remembers that half a century ago, there were only one or two of us engaged in both medicine and writing. It is a measure of the growth and the maturity of medicine that our profession can so powerfully declare its own humanity through the art of poetry. ---Richard Selzer, surgeon and author, Letters to a Young Doctor"

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