1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Medicine and Poetry

Edited By Alan Bleakley, Shane Neilson Copyright 2024
    410 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Handbook of Medicine and Poetry draws on an international selection of authors to ask what the cultures of poetry and medicine may gain from reciprocal critical engagement. The volume celebrates interdisciplinary inquiry, critique, and creative expansion with an emphasis upon amplifying provocative and marginalized voices.

    This carefully curated collection offers both historical context and future thinking from clinicians, poets, artists, humanities scholars, social scientists, and bio-scientists who collectively inquire into the nature of relationships between medicine and poetry. Importantly, these can be both productive and unproductive. How, for example, do poet-doctors reconcile the outwardly antithetical approaches of bio-scientific medicine and poetry in their daily work, where typically the former draws on technical language and associated thinking and the latter on metaphors? How does non-narrative lyrical poetry engage with narrative-based medicine? How do poets writing about medicine identify as patients? Central to the volume is the critical investigation of the consequences of varieties of medical pedagogy for clinical practice.

    Presenting a vision of how poetic thinking might form a medical ontology this thought-provoking book affords an essential resource for scholars and practitioners from across medicine, health and social care, medical education, the medical and health humanities, and literary studies.

    Introduction: ‘What’s past is prologue’

    Alan Bleakley and Shane Neilson


    Part 1: Conceptual and practical frames

    Chapter 1            Toward a poetics of illness and healing

    Laurence J Kirmayer


    Chapter 2            The Hippocrates Initiative 20092022

    Michael Hulse


    Chapter 3            Marking time: poetry as subject to narrative in medical education

    Shane Neilson


    Part 2: Archaeology and genealogy

    In celebration of the word: introduction to EP Scarlett's 'Medicine and Poetry'

    Shane Neilson and Alan Bleakley

    Chapter 4            Medicine and Poetry

    EP Scarlett

    Chapter 5            Medicine as poetry

    John Launer

    Chapter 6            What can medicine do for poetry? Poetry’s incursions in the first year of the Canadian Medical Association Journal

    Shane Neilson

    Chapter 7            Poetry and medicine

    Audrey Shafer

    Chapter 8            A poet in the clinic

    Iain Bamforth


    Part 3: Poiesis: metaphor elaborates experience

    Chapter 9            Positive negative

    Daisy G Bassen

    Chapter 10          Embracing metaphor in pain medicine

    Peter Stilwell and Christie Stilwell

    Chapter 11          Is the author dead in the poetry of disease? Authorship, modern poetry, and medical language

    Daniel A Romero Suarez

    Chapter 12          Nourished by experiences: meaning without metaphysics in the poetry of Dannie Abse

    W Richard Bowen

    Chapter 13          Debriding the moral injury

    Tolu Oloruntoba


    Part 4: Neurodiversity and the colonizing of the other

    Chapter 14          Alda Merini and the making of lyrical psychiatry

    Marta Arnaldi    

    Chapter 15          Dear GP: psychiatry in the spotlight

    Elisabeth Kumar

    Chapter 16          The prairies always see you: a poetics of psychosis

    Erin Soros

    Chapter 17          The capaciousness of uncertainty: from standing over to becoming alongside

    Jiameng Xu

    Chapter 18          Sylvia Wynter and the poetics of psychiatry

    Bahar Orang

    Chapter 19          Psychiatry’s turf and poetry’s field

                                Alan Bleakley


    Part 5: The intimate soma

    Chapter 20          Body-related poetry therapy in psycho-oncology

                                 Alfonso Santarpia

    Chapter 21          Oncology and poetry: the case of Patrick Kavanagh

    Martin Dyar

    Chapter 22          Clinical time and the poetry collection

    Alastair Morrison

    Chapter 23          Timecrevasses and breathcrystals: how poetry and philosophy can refresh an instrumental medicine to re-engage patients

    Martina Ann Kelly and Megan EL Brown


    Part 6: Unsettling poetry and pedagogy

    Chapter 24          Medicine, poetry, and Iris Murdoch’s invitation towards unselfing

    Monica Kidd

    Chapter 25          Can poetry be used as a tool to enhance or maintain fine motor surgical skills?

    Sarah Fraser and Jessica Chaytor

    Chapter 26          Unsettling medicine’s coloniality: poetry’s (missed?) anticolonial potential in medical education and practice

    Sarah de Leeuw

    Chapter 27          When caged birds sing: Black critical feminist poetry as a tool for political resistance, empowerment, and healing

    Thirusha Naidu and Lynne Richards

    Chapter 28          Creative writing in medical education

    Michael Hanne

    Chapter 29          On the reading list for all trainee medics: Autobiography of a Marguerite by Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle

    Johanna Emeny

    Chapter 30          Has the poetry of medicine burnt out?

    Sophie Ratcliffe and Andrew Schuman


    Shane Neilson and Alan Bleakley



    Alan Bleakley is Emeritus Professor of Medical Education and Medical Humanities at Plymouth University Peninsula Medical School, UK.

    Shane Neilson is a poet, physician, and health humanities scholar who teaches at the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University, Canada.