Category Archives: Medical Humanities

Anti-Racism Matters in Graphic Medicine, Too

Comics by African American Creators

There have been a lot of posts coming out with anti-racism reading lists, even some for comics and graphic novels. With the push this week to support #BlackPublishingPower and #BlackoutBestsellerList, I’d been thinking it would be good to have something for Graphic Medicine folk along the same lines.

Then this morning, I saw the Nib’s newest, In/Vulnerable: Zenobia – Largo, MD. This is one part in an amazing series the Nib is doing in partnership with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting on how inequities and disparities are impacting health outcomes and experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure sounds like graphic medicine to me, doesn’t it? I hope they publish this in book form so I can get a copy for our library.

I read Zenobia’s story about her daughter with cerebral palsy, who worked in a grocery store. A grocery store that didn’t provide PPE for their staff. And her daughter died of COVID-19. My son grew up with what was called special needs, also, and, like Zenobia’s daughter, Leilani, he works in a grocery store. Not a big one like Giant Food, but a small coop in an upscale community. It’s really different. Staff have and use PPE, my son is sanitizing carts and baskets and places people touch things. Reading In/Vulnerable this morning was one of those moments. It just hit me, and I started crying, and had trouble stopping. I probably could use a mental health day, I guess, and you know what? That’s an option for me. That’s available to me. And somehow that doesn’t make this any better. My son wanted me to go watch cat videos, and I said, no, let me try to do something that might help instead. Even if it isn’t enough, ever, and can’t possibly be.

I’ve done posts before on social justice in comics, so you can start here: 45 Graphic Memoirs and Graphic Novels on Social Justice Themes. Right now, I’m still working from home (more privilege), and most of the books I have that would count for this are in the office, which hopefully explains the photo at the opening of this post. Because I blur social justice issues and the boundaries of graphic medicine, this might be a little loosely defined, but here are some titles I’d like to share with you at this time, in this context.


A COMIC ANTHOLOGY

Book: APB: Artists against Police Brutality, A Comic Book Anthology

I’ve been collecting comic anthologies for a research project, and let me tell you, this one is not well enough known. Go. Buy it. Read it.


BEN PASSMORE

Book: Your Black Friend, and Other Strangers

About prejudice, stigma, stereotyping, privilege, and sort of a core in the anti-racism comics canon.

Book 2: Sports is Hell

Believe it or not, this one is actually about rioting. Fancy that.


EZRA CLAYTAN DANIELS

Book: Upgrade Soul

An exploration of identity, mortality, and disability through a science fiction lens.

Book 2: Are You at Risk for Empathy Myopia?

Free online, but for sale if you want a print copy.


JOEL CHRISTIAN GILL

Book: Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence

A graphic memoir examining violence in the life of African American youth.


RUPERT KINNARD

Book: B.B. and the Diva

A brave outrageous early work of fiction LGBT superheroes, of a sort.


LEROY MOORE

Book: Krip Hop Nation

Exploring and honoring the power of spoken language arts and music through a lens of disability activism.


SAMI BRICE

Book: Waiting

A rather peculiar exploration of the concept of waiting in our lives.


TEE FRANKLIN

Book: Bingo Love

What does it mean to love someone when society says you aren’t allowed to be with them? What does it mean to love someone when you are finally allowed to be with them? What does it mean to love someone through aging, loss, and beyond?


TONY MEDINA

Book: I Am Alfonso Jones

Powerful. I can’t try to explain it without choking up. Go read the publisher’s description.


WHIT TAYLOR

Book: Madtown High

I’d recommend her book Ghost, except it isn’t available. This is another good one, graphic memoir exploring teen life.

See also:
New Podcast: Reconciling the Public and Private in Health Comics with Whit Taylor


OTHER BOOKS IN THE PHOTO

These might not count as graphic medicine, but they are by Black creators.

Bayou, by Jeremy Love (a daughter vows to save her father from being lynched)

Captain America: Truth by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker.


MORE

FYI, the Graphic Medicine Confab series starts TONIGHT (yay, Kriota!), and the presenter for the June 30th session is Joel Christian Gill, mentioned above. And there is a Comics as Resistance with Bianca Xunise event happening on Friday (which I know about thanks to Whit Taylor retweeting Radiator Comics).

15 Black Comics Artists Whose Work You Need to Read

Black Lives Matter Comics Reading Lists: BCALA and the ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table: Black Lives Matter Reading List

Kugali Comics (Africa/Kenya)

We Need Diverse Comics

Comic Creators of Color

Black Lives Matter Comics: The systemic racism of policing in comics

Pandemic Doesn’t Mean Panic. It Means Be SSMART

Pandemic Doesn't Mean Panic. It Means Be SSMART!
Pandemic doesn’t mean panic. It means be SSMART.”
Find copies of the poster for printing and sharing here.

This started with a Facebook post made during an online meeting last week. I’ve been really, truly, deeply concerned (read “alarmed”) by much of the panic and fear that is surrounding me on social media. I’m seeing fear-focused messages create situations that cause harm to others, and which can potentially cause harm to yourself. There are a lot of blogposts I want to be writing related to this, but I’m going to start here, with that original Facebook post:

Pandemic Doesn't Mean Panic - Original
Pandemic doesn’t mean panic. It Means Be SSMART!

What is being smart, in this context? I’m giving these mental hooks as places to start:
SSMART = Sanitary, Social Distance, Methodical, Aware, Responsible, Thoughtful.

Let’s start with a plain language version of what those might mean, and then do a deeper dive. The following text is copied from the image at the head of the post, for those working from a screenreader.

SSMART (Plain Language Version)

SANITARY

East or West, SOAP is best! What soap? Any soap you like. If you can’t get soap, then high-alcohol hand sanitizer (>60%) or bleach wipes will do. It’s especially important to wash hands after visiting the bathroom.

SOCIAL DISTANCE

The elbow bump is SO last month! These days social distance means 6-10 feet, or 2-3 yards or meters. If you can reach out and touch fingertips? Yeah, that’s too close. Back up a bit, friend.

METHODICAL

Just like we do our laundry regularly, making hand-washing and social distancing a habit is one of the best ways to keep you and your loved ones safe.

AWARE

If you are feeling good, sure you can go for a walk. Just remember social distance, walk in nature not around people! And look out for those people who aren’t watching where they are (or their dogs).

RESPONSIBLE

Parents take care of children. Grown-up children take care of their parents. Friends take care of friends. We all watch out for each other. This isn’t about me, or you, it’s about all of us. We all know someone who is at risk, probably someone we love. Right now, each time we wash our hands or skip a party, it’s about keeping others safe.

THOUGHTFUL

Helping others stay calm can help us stay calm, too. Checking the source of that news story or web site might make you wonder if it’s actually true. If we talk a lot about how scared we are, we might end up scaring other people around us even more. Who’s listening to what we say? What do we want them to hear? Does what we say help them, too, or make things worse? Stop. Think first. Then share.

The Deep Dive — More Thoughts on These

More Thoughts on SANITARY

All the fuss about hand sanitizer? Yeah. No. Soap works better. Soap is like a grenade for the coronavirus, just destroys it. And people who are cleaning their home personal space to an extraordinary degree? I have nothing against doing this, as long as you recognize that this is largely a way to comfort yourself, and probably not terribly practical for actually managing your risk of catching the virus. That is, of course, unless you have someone in your home who is either at high risk or ill, and you are trying to manage their germs or their exposure to germs. For my home, it is filled with my usual germs, and while, yes, it needs a good cleaning, coronavirus is not why it needs cleaning.

I’ve encountered people who believe witch hazel will be better than alcohol for sanitization, people who believe that antibiotics are better than antivirals, people who don’t understand the difference between different kinds of sanitizers, and similar misunderstandings or misconceptions. If you’re interested, we can take more time to discuss these, but what you really really need to know is that there is one very clear winner for what stops coronaviruses before they get inside you, and that is SOAP.

Regarding coronaviruses on surfaces, there’s also been a lot of confusion and hype. There was an article that the media picked up and misinterpreted a couple weeks ago that talked about how long coronaviruses last on different surfaces. The methodology wasn’t reported well or clearly, so I have some concerns about the quality of that study, but the media latched onto one idea — the 9 days part — and ran with it, implying that if someone coughs outside or in an office the surface is infectious for weeks. NOT TRUE. If you actually read the article, what it really said is:

(a) in a hospital room where a patient with a coronavirus infection of any sort (not just COVID-19) has had a procedure done (such as being intubated) the virus can possibly last a long time on surfaces that aren’t properly cleaned, but we don’t know if it’s infectious or not; and

(b) the only intervention shown to make a real difference in transmission in a pandemic situation is more hand washing stations. In the hospital. Specifically in the Emergency Department.

So, please, unless a sick person was intubated in your dining room or something like that, you don’t need to go do an extreme cleaning your house. Clean, yes, but don’t get anxious over it.

More Thoughts on SOCIAL DISTANCE

What is social distance? First, this basically is being used to mean too far to touch if you both tried really hard, and then add a bit more. Ten feet is ideal, but unrealistic. Six feet is more realistic. It’s not about touching, though, it’s about coughing, and how far the droplets travel in the air. If you have short arms, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to get closer to people, because you still cough and breathe just like everyone else.

Secondly, the phrase being used is “social distance” but really they are talking about PHYSICAL distance. It’s fine to talk over Skype with a friend. Socializing is necessary and healthy, just keep our physical bodies away from other people.

This is less critical for SOME people, in some situations. If you are at home, in your own house, with the same people who live there all the time, you don’t need to keep social distance as much, unless someone is sick. If one person gets sick then they need to be quarantined, and then EVERYONE in the house needs to also observe the quarantine, unless they have been keeping social distance. I’m currently quarantined, and for us, this means my son can’t go to work. Bummer, but that’s how it works. Even though his job mostly involves working with soap.

More Thoughts on METHODICAL

This is not easy stuff to do. To actually do it, you have to make it a habit, and build it in. You can help build the habits by adopting behaviors that cut down on opportunities to do your usual thing. Don’t want to touch your face with your hands? Put your hands in your pockets, or do something to keep them busy. Finding yourself tempted to give a friend a hug? Maybe visit virtually instead of in person.

For example, let’s say you have a dog that needs to be walked. You can do this, honestly. Even if you are quarantined, but only have mild symptoms, if you wash your hands and face first, wear a good mask and a pair of gloves, and walk the dog in a nature area away from other people, you can walk the dog and not put others at risk. This is especially true if you go walking very early in the morning or late at night, when other people tend to not be out. But if you live on a crowded busy street, and go walk the dog during rush hour, you have a situation and environment where it becomes very hard to keep away from other people, especially if they don’t understand the limitations we’re talking about. My son was walking our dog, and a woman holding a baby in her arms stopped to try to talk to him. Very sweet, but … no. Let’s just not do that.

So when you are building your habits — the habit of handwashing, the habit of soap, the habit of social distancing — build habits that are smart and include things like time of day, your environment, what your neighbors typically do, and things like this. Build habits that protect everyone, not just you.

More Thoughts on AWARE

This could be a big section, so I’ll try to restrain myself.

Part of this is being aware of people around you, your local environment. As you try to practice social distance, is someone walking up behind you? Who’s ahead of you, and how far away are they? How well behaved is that dog on the leash? That child they hold by the hand, are they trying to get loose and run? Is someone about to cross the street coming towards you?

Part of this is being self-aware, of what’s going on in your body, of the people around you. How are your neighbors doing, who needs someone to check in on them? That little tickle in your throat? Did you cough once or twice? How are you using social media and reading the news, and how is it making you feel? Do you need to take a break for your mental health?

Part of this is being aware of what information is coming out that could change our understanding of the situation. Check the date of this blogpost, and have I updated it (I would say so at the top). If it’s been a few days or longer, the best information might have changed. Right now, with the COVID-19 situation, information is changing so fast no one can entirely keep on top of it, even the experts. Because of this, you may get very different information on the same day from different medical professionals. Don’t just take what you hear for granted, especially if it will make a difference to what you do in your life or how you might put a loved one at risk. Check out more details, ask questions, try to find someone you trust to find out and make sense of it. Most of all, don’t assume anything, don’t take what you hear on face value. Look for authoritative sources who agree on it. Try to find at least three trusted sources saying the same thing, and who get their own information from different places. If the recommendation is all based on pieces that cite the same article, that counts as ONE information source, not three. (I’m thinking of that 9-day figure that freaked people out last week, and was promoted in dozens of news articles.)

More Thoughts on RESPONSIBLE

You heard this from other people. This isn’t about any individual. That’s hard for Americans to hear, land of cowboys and free ranges, frontier heroes. I’m remembering the song from Oklahoma, The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends. In those difficult times, we needed people who were community focused, and those who were out on the edge doing something valuable but alone. We still need both kinds of people, but deciding that it is your personal individual right to go to a party and be wild does not make you a cowman, it just makes you a fool. Don’t be that person. Sure, stand up for your own rights, but think carefully about what those are, and how they impact on the people around you. Right now, if you go to a party, and come back, even if you don’t get sick, you could pass along the virus to someone else, who passes it along to their friend, who passes it along to the dad with cancer, or kid with type-one-diabetes, or their grandma, and that person becomes the one who doesn’t make it. Do you want that on your conscience? Actually, someone who would do that will probably just say, “You can’t prove they got it from me. They could have gotten it anywhere!” Right.

More Thoughts on THOUGHTFUL

Most people want to help, and be helpful. But what people are doing to help, isn’t always actually helping. There’s a lot of sharing of misinformation. I just discovered this great resource which is collecting high quality evidence resources right along many of the myths and legends of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

FirstDraft: Find information about coronavirus (Covid-19)

As people have been coming to me with questions, I’ve been doing my own research on each one, and it turns out this will actually handle most of the questions I’ve gotten! YAY! So, check here first, before you share that video you found on how hair dryers can cure your COVID-19 illness. No, they can’t, and even worse, they spread the virus all over everything! Do you really want to be sharing something that will make more people sick? I didn’t think so.

What leaps to mind today are the news articles around the new Imperial UK report that is making so many headlines. If you read the report, it’s scary enough without the way the headlines are presenting it. Most of the headlines I’ve seen say something like we’ll have to socially isolate for 18 months or else, and use language like “chilling,” “drastic,” “draconian,” “staggering.” That’s just going to make every one feel so great, isn’t it? More like feeding despair and hopelessness, and those won’t lead anywhere good for anyone.

What’s the alternative? Well, if we see journalists going for clickbait, look for other journalists talking about the same story. Check out this more balanced piece by John Timmer at Ars Technica or the more positively phrased Atlantic piece by actual doctors, “This is How We Can Beat the Coronavirus.” In general, you might want to bookmark and scan another great Ars Technica COVID-19 resource, “Don’t Panic.” These discuss the assumptions underneath the predictions, and what sort of changes could make a difference to these estimates.

You can also find a mix of hyperbolic and well reasoned thought on social media. You want to be careful, and you want to intentionally look for people providing different views. This thread from Jeremy C. Young has a long discussion, which highlights a point I haven’t seen in any of the news stories — that even the worst case scenario is on-again, off-again, not that we stay in seclusion for 18 months straight!

So stop and think about what you are reading, and what you are sharing. Think about who is listening to you, and are you making it worse or better for others?

IMAGE CREDITS

Sanitary: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=157635&picture=washing-dishes-vintage-clipart
Social Distance: https://www.pxfuel.com/en/free-photo-jrfol
Methodical: http://www.publicdomainfiles.com/show_file.php?id=13526394611608
Aware: https://publicdomainvectors.org/en/free-clipart/Eye-contact/56082.html
Responsible: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=111574&picture=father-and-son-silhouetteThoughtful: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=188584&picture=man-reading

45 Graphic Memoirs and Graphic Novels on Social Justice Themes

Comics on Global & Social Justice

One of the debates in the Graphic Medicine community is whether or not social justice titles actually count. Some folk include them because they embody issues around what is currently referred to as “social determinants of health” or because they are of interest to the specific community they serve, while others suggest that with limited budgets and space, we should really focus on comics that explicitly touch directly on health, healthcare, and medicine. There’s a range, and for me, I tend to throw out a broad and inclusive net. Graphic novels and graphic memoirs which touch on social justice themes often can be of great value in empathy building or can serve as touchstones for challenging conversations around issues of access, inclusion, equity, and related topics as they touch on healthcare.

Today, the #medlibs Twitter chat focused on social justice. More on that.

Yesterday was the ALA webinar, “Libraries, Comics, & Superheroes of Color.” More on that.

Do you get the impression these ideas have been on my radar recently?

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Edelstein and I were asked for suggestions of graphic novels and graphic medicine titles along themes of social justice and global scholarship. I promised to collect our suggestions in a blogpost, so we can find them more easily in the future. Here we go!

The list of titles is alphabetical. The links for the titles are not to places you can buy them, but to reviews of the books. I tried to select the reviews from a variety of quirky and interesting places where you might want to browse to find more information on graphic novels or comics or social justice. Some of the books are about recent history or current events, others are more distant history. Some of them may not strike you immediately as ‘social justice’ but they all carry social justice elements and themes. I tried to select some which are well known and others which are not as well known. The purpose of the entire list is to try to direct you from this selected list to a vastly broader world of similar books out there waiting to be discovered. Trust me, there’s a lot more where these came from, and more stories waiting to emerge and waiting to be told. There are more links to extra resources at the end of the post.

TITLES

  1. American-Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang.
  2. The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir, by Riad Sattouf.
  3. Aya: Life in Yop City, by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie.
  4. The Best We Could Do, an Illustrated Memoir, by Thi Bui.
  5. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu.
  6. Death Threat, by Vivek Shraya.
  7. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, by Don Brown.
  8. Far Tune: Autumn, by Eisele Bowman.
  9. HIROSHIMA, The Autobiography of Barefoot Gen, by Keiji Nakazawa.
  10. Hostage, by Guy Delisle.
  11. Illegal, by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, Giovanni Rigano.
  12. La Perdida, by Jessica Abel.
  13. Love is Love, by Marc Andreyko, Sarah Gaydos, Jamie S. Rich.
  14. March, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.
  15. Maus, by Art Spiegelman.
  16. The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic by Emma.
  17. My Brother’s Husband and Volume 2 by Gengoroh Tagame.
  18. Pashima by Nidhi Chanani.
  19. Persepolis (And Persepolis 2; or the complete edition), by Marjane Satrapi.
  20. The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders, by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre and Frédéric Lemercier.
  21. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, by Steve Sheinkin
  22. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, by Jim Ottaviani.
  23. PTSD, by Guillaume Singelin.
  24. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle.
  25. Queer: A Graphic History, by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele.
  26. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson.
  27. A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities, by Mady G. and J.R. Zuckerberg.
  28. Radioactive, by Lauren Redniss.
  29. Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, by Sarah Glidden.
  30. Run For It: Stories Of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom, by Marcelo D’Salete.
  31. Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995, by Joe Sacco.
  32. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, by Mary M. Talbot and Kate Charlesworth
  33. Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli.
  34. Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, by Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, Keith Chow, Jerry Ma, Jef Castro.
  35. Spiral Cage, by Al Davison
  36. They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei.
  37. Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking, by Anne Elizabeth Moore.
  38. Unterzakhn, by Leela Corman.
  39. The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees, by Don Brown.
  40. Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey, by GB Tran.
  41. Waltz With Bashir A Lebanon War Story, by Ari Folman and David Polonsky.
  42. Where We Live: A Benefit for the Survivors in Las Vegas, by J. H. Williams III and 150+ contributors.
  43. With Only Five Plums, by Terry Eisele.
  44. Your Black Friend and Other Strangers, by Ben Passmore.
  45. Zahra’s Paradise, by Amir and Khalil.

WANT MORE?

Resources from the University of Michigan

Transnational Comic Studies Workshop (TNCSW on Facebook)

UMich: Library Guide: Comics and Graphic Novels about the Civil Rights Movement

From Other Libraries

Indiana University, Southeast: Library Guides: Diversity in Graphic Novels and Comics

Seattle Library: Social Justice Graphic Novels

General Resources

**We Need Diverse Comics

Canadian Children’s Book Centre: Social Justice & Diversity Book Bank

The March Education Project.

National Council of Teachers of English. Diversity in Graphic Novels: Booklists.

Social Justice Books: Teaching for Change: Graphic Novels

Social Justice Book List, edited by Katherine Bassett, Brett Bigham, and Laurie Calvert. NNSTOY, 2017.

Teaching Tolerance: The Social Justice League (Toolkit).

Scholarly & Professional Publications on Social Justice in Comics

Bennett, Colette. A Comic Book Helped to Inspire the Civil Rights Movement. The Educator’s Room, August 7th, 2017.

Greenfield, David. Beyond Super Heroes and Talking Animals: Social Justice in Graphic Novels in Education. (Dissertation) Pepperdine University, December, 2017.

Hunter R. Comics As “Bibles” for Civil Rights Struggles. ACLU, 2014.

Irwin M, Moeller R. Seeing Different: Portrayals of Disability in Young Adult Graphic Novels. ALA School Library Research 13, 2010.

Moeller R, Becnel K. Drawing Diversity: Representations of Race in Graphic Novels for Young Adults. School Library Research Journal 21, February 2018.

Robbins M. Using Graphic Memoirs to Discuss Social Justice Issues in the Secondary Classroom ALAN v42n3

Wickner A. Teaching Social Justice With Comics. Education Week, September 5, 2013.

Popular Media & Blogs on Social Justice in Comics

Brave in the Attempt: SOCIAL JUSTICE LEARNING WITH THE X-MEN AND OTHER GRAPHIC NOVELS

Bustle: 10 Graphic Novels Written By Activists That You Need To Read Now More Than Ever

The Conscious Kid: 15 Diverse Graphic Novels for Middle Grade or Teen Readers

Huffington Post: 10 Compelling Graphic Memoirs that Will Make You a Devoted Fan of the Genre

Ouch Blog: With great power comes great disability

Paste: Beyond March: 10 Other Graphic Novels That Confront Prejudice

Planet Jinxatron: 7 Fantastic Graphic Novels About Politics, Race, and Activism

Tales from the Nerdy: Disabled or Mislabeled: Comics and Graphic Novels About Disabilities Bibliography

WE: The need for diversity in comic books

#WorldPoetryDay and #MedHum

Books: Dental History: Poem: A Memory by Helen Chase

A group of us are trying to start a special interest group within the Medical Library Association around the theme of medical humanities. We’re all coming at this from the common love of Graphic Medicine (comics in healthcare), however we decided to propose the broader concept of medical humanities as one that encompasses graphic medicine, while offering flexibility, room to grow, and opportunities for creative partnerships. This came in part from realizing that 1) graphic medicine is only one of the emerging new literacies combining a variety of media in information delivery and storytelling, 2) preferred modes and names and media/mediums change over time, and 3) the long term value for sustainability of working under a broader umbrella. Please note, this expresses my views on our process, and I am not speaking for anyone else. If you want more info on the SIG (which is meeting for the first time at the MLA Annual Meeting on Monday) you can comment on this blogpost or reach out on Twitter to any of the co-conveners: me (@pfanderson), Matthew Noe (@NoeTheMatt), or Alice Jaggers (@AJaggers324).

Anyway, the field of medical humanities IS rather broad and large, with lots of subdivisions, one of those being ways in which poetry is used in healthcare, therapeutically for reading, therapeutically with writing, and educationally as a tool for creating insight in healthcare practitioners for the patient experience as well as the reverse. I’ve been collecting books of poetry on science and healthcare themes for literally decades. With yesterday being World Poetry Day, I scrounged around on Twitter to find examples of what other people were highlighting that might fall in this area.

In this small selection, you can find poems about hospitals and hospice, illness and injury, social determinants of health, pain (emotional and physical), dementia, grief and recovery, reasons to live, happiness and healing, and more. Poems included are written by a broad range of authors, near and far, old and new, soldiers, parents, friends, patients, doctors, activists, and more. Some of the names may be familiar (Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, Bob Dylan, Robert Service, Emily Dickinson, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Shel Silverstein, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, Dorothy Parker), while others may be less so (Kobayashi Issa, John McCrae, Kayo Chingonyi, Mark Strand, David Orr, Joelle Barron, Shawn Hunter, Helen Dunmore, Louise Gluck, Ali Jazo). I’ve divided it into two sections. The first section (“Poems to Read”) is tweets about or of poems by notable literary poets, which may make a nice place to find poems to read therapeutically. The second section (“About Poetry in Healthcare”) includes examples of poems written by patients, or clinical spaces as part of education and outreach, as well as articles about how poetry is being used in healthcare environments and settings, with some rather interesting projects and descriptions of patient experience. And remember — this is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more. Feel free to share soem of our own favorites in the comments!

POEMS TO READ

ABOUT POETRY IN HEALTHCARE

ADDENDUM

How did I find these? Because someone always asks. Here — I searched in Twitter, like this: #WorldPoetryDay (cancer OR care OR clinic OR death OR doctor OR dying OR health OR healing OR hospice OR hospital OR illness OR injury OR injured OR medicine OR nurse OR nursing OR pain OR recovery OR “waiting room”)