poetry

Why Medicine Needs Poetry

“When patients come to us with headache, and stomach pain, and foot pain, and 300 other issues, they are really speaking in metaphor. We may call it somatization disorder, or write them off as “complainers,” but in fact, it is metaphor. To be skilled clinicians—and to get the right diagnosis—we must be able to interpret our patients’ metaphors.” More

Poetry in Medicine

When I make rounds with medical students and interns, I’ve often tried to sneak in a poem at the end. It’s not always the most well-received bit of medical teaching, More

Patients Need Poetry…And So Do Doctors

Sometimes it is the things we deem least practical that wield the most power. In fact, poetry’s impracticality may be its strength. By being just words on a page, it isn’t expected to pull the weight of chemotherapy, antibiotics, or an MRI machine. So when a poem does pack a punch, we’re often bowled over. More

The Debilitated Muse

Poetry is a supremely sensory art, both in the imagining and in the writing. What
happens when the poet faces illness? How is the poetry affected by alterations of the body
and mind? More

A Literary Review at Bellevue? Believe It

“Just tell me a story,” Dr. Danielle Ofri admonishes her medical students and interns at morning rounds. To Dr. Ofri, an attending physician at Bellevue Hospital Center, a part-time writer and the editor in chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, every patient’s history is a mystery story, a narrative that unfolds full of surprises, exposing the vulnerability at the human core. More

An Outbreak of Poetry (and Prose) at Bellevue

The waiting area in Bellevue Hospital was full. Every chair was taken. But the people kept streaming in. More chairs had to be brought in.  It wasn’t clear if the room could accommodate everyone. This wasn’t the emergency room or the clinic waiting area, however. It was the scene of the Bellevue Literary Review poetry … More

Resistance–Review of Abba Kovner’s poetry

Abba Kovner–leader of the Vilna ghetto uprising–was also a remarkable poet. His book of poems entitled “Sloan Kettering” is well worth the read for its lessons in history, mortality, medicine, and beauty. More

Poetry Ward

Toxic sock syndrome. That’s the first thing we noticed when we entered the hospital room. For those gentle readers who are not familiar with such sensory assault, toxic sock syndrome is the clinical term for the rank odor that accompanies damp, fetid feet that have seen more street time than shower time. More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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