How Is a Patient Like a Poem?

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

How is a patient like a poem?, I sometimes ask the medical students and residents I teach when I see glazed expressions that indicate they have fallen asleep with their eyes open. While I talk about how reading poetry helps us understand the experiences of patients and doctors, they sit there, politely enough, but no doubt wondering how they had the misfortune to wind up in this seminar. They thought that they had finished with English after freshman composition 101.

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