Upon the Arraignment, Condemnation, and Execution of Elizabeth Stile, 1579

Kate Bolton Bonnici // Elizabeth Stile was executed in England for witchcraft in February 1579. In what follows, I consider an anonymous “news of the day” pamphlet about her case, using critical poetry as scholarly method. (This pamphlet is part of a larger genre of 16th/17th-century writing on witchcraft trials.) I concentrate on the description…

Coffee With A Colleague: Michael Barthman

Physician and Poet Michael Barthman Sarah Berry // This interview series features educators, scholars, artists, and healthcare providers whose work is vital to the growth of the health humanities. On Friday, September 4, I interviewed Dr. Barthman about his work as an emergency physician, medical educator, health humanities blogger, and poet. Sarah Berry: Can you…

Literature After the Era of Roe v. Wade

Bojan Srbinovski // “The right of privacy,” writes Justice Harry Blackmun in the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, “whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action…or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to…

The Experience of Grief, The Truths of Bearing Witness

Bríd Phillips // We hang dangling at speed, in fragile air[i] In many ways, the texts at our Medical Humanities Book and Film Club, while dealing with serious topics, have maintained some streaks of positivity. This positivity formed a thread which we could follow to avoid opening up emotional maelstroms. To date, there have been…

From Words to Breath – Connecting Through Poetry

Bríd Phillips // Communicating with a terminally ill friend can often feel daunting and full of fear and anxiety. What will we talk about? Will I say the wrong thing? Or is there actually anything left to say as you both stare into the void? Recently, I had this experience when a work colleague developed…

Illness as Muse and the Poet-Physician: Rafael Campo’s Comfort Measures Only

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Rafael Campo. Comfort Measures Only: New & Selected Poems, 1994-2016. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. “Illness is a problem for the human imagination only insomuch as we might seek dispassionately scientific methods to cure it while we avoid the inevitably destructive pressures it exerts on our fragile psyches.” – Rafael…

Wordsworth and ‘The Companionable Leech’

Lesley Thulin // John Stuart Mill famously suggested literature’s therapeutic potential when he declared William Wordsworth’s poetry “a medicine for my state of mind” (Mill 85). According to his Autobiography (1874), Mill read Wordsworth during a bout of “habitual depression” and was immediately cured (86). For Mill, Wordsworth’s poetry expressed “states of feeling, and of…

Event: Hysteria from the Archives, Feb. 19

Coffee Hour, Poetry Reading, and Discussion of Hysteria from the Archives Monday, February 19, 2018, 4:00-5:00pm Heyman Center for the Humanities, Second Floor Common Room We have access to accounts of hysteria more or less exclusively through the male gaze of the physician. In response, Hysteria from the Archives engages with both phenomenology (the experiences…