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September 12, 1986

Renaming the Streets

Author Affiliations

St Joseph's Hospital Milwaukee

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1364-1365. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100138040

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In his third volume of poetry, John Stone continues refining his earlier experiments with the carefully structured and casually, but artfully, understated poem. As one would expect, this professor of emergency medicine at Emory University writes about medicine, but also finds inspiration in the art of Edward Hopper and Leonardo da Vinci, fishing expeditions with his son, and a waitress in a diner.

The unifying aspect of this work is not a particular theme, but an attitude: the notion that the most trivial and the most significant incidents of our lives deserve equally careful poetic scrutiny. This is nothing new on the contemporary scene; Dr Stone explores some entirely different avenues, however, in using some fairly traditional rhyme schemes and metrical structures. This impulse is most clearly defined in a series of eight poems called "The Pigeon Sonnets."

Witty and imaginative, these poems begin with the embryo as "a prisoner