Friday, April 21, 2006

MHE 512

Had a great time with the Human Face of Medicine class at UW today. The class had been assigned to do close readings of several of my poems from Saying the World, as well as some readings from the textbook A Life in Medicine (including a great Lewis Thomas essay, "Leech, Leech, etc, " and a terrific Bulgakov short story, "Trial by Rotation"). We spent most of the class discussing the poems, and I think it went over fairly well. It was fascinating to hear their takes and interpretations, and to hear what questions the poems brought up for them. They were mostly first and second year medical students, and some had had previous careers in other medically related fields; and several of them seemed pretty well-read in terms of world literature; so the discussions were pretty high-level. Some of the poems were written over 15 years ago, and so it was really fun to cast my mind back and recall what they had arisen from, what were my intentions at the time, and etc; and to compare that to how I feel about the poems now, what I see in them now. And then to connect the poems to actual clinical medicine, and how it is practiced. It was fascinating and fun, and I hope the students enjoyed it even half as much as I did. Thanks Tom and Denise for inviting me. I can hardly wait to go again next week!

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