[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 25, 1991

Vital Signs

Author Affiliations

Medical Center of Delaware Wilmington

Medical Center of Delaware Wilmington


edited by Neil M. Paige and Thomas Alloggiamento, 139 pp, with illus, $10, The UCLA Collection of Physician's Poetry, UCLA Medical Center, 12-139 CHS, 10833 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1724, 1991.

JAMA. 1991;266(12):1704. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470120106047

Imagination is "an ingredient as necessary to poetry as rhythm and active language,"1 led off a recent article on poetry in The New Yorker. And in an article entitled "Can Poetry Matter?" Gioia declared, "American poetry now belongs to a subculture," and "[is] no longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life."2 Both authors would, I think, appreciate the effort behind this little book, which includes poems with titles like "Janet Was Stabbed" by James W. Voell, MD, "Spinal Anesthesia" by Bert Hirschhorn, MD, and "Psychiatric Consult on an Anorectic Girl With Long Hair" by Eric K. Bonsall, MD.

In his poem Bonsall says his patient "sips from her IV" and tells her, "Your chart is thick with your thinness" but "does not contain the tears."

Nine of the 40 poets represented have had their poems published before, primarily in medical journals. It's truly wonderful that