Three Vanderbilt University physicians and a medical student who all write poetry—Brenda Butka, Brian Christman, Doug Hester and Irène Mathieu—will read from their works April 13 at the Williamson County Public Library.
The program, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. “Previous readings by our physician poets have proven to be popular on campus, and we know that our doctors truly enjoy being able to share their talents in literary creative expression with the community,” said Lynn Maddox, county liaison with Vanderbilt Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations.
Butka, director of pulmonary rehabilitation at Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital, has been writing poetry since she was a child. Her work has been published by Threepenny Review, Slant, The Cortland Review, Florida Review, 2nd and Church, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, Chest and other journals. Butka’s poem “Do Not Resuscitate” inspired medical students to create signs about their patients’ personal lives to display over their beds.
Christman is professor and vice chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Medicine as well as chief of medical service at the Veteran Affairs’ Tennessee Valley Health Care System. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at VUMC and has worked in the Department of Medicine since 1987. His work has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and in Tabula Rasa, Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s journal for medical humanities.
Hester is an anesthesiologist whose academic work focuses on airway management and resident education. He has written poetry, fiction and essays about medicine, fatherhood and adoption. “An Intern’s Recollection of a Night at the VA, July 2004” appeared in the journal Chest. Hester’s work has also been published by The Examined Life Journal and Anesthesiology.
Mathieu, recipient of a Canby Robinson Society scholarship, is a fourth-year medical student at Vanderbilt. She hopes to focus her future research on primary care and noncommunicable diseases in middle-income nations. Her poetry, prose, and photography have been published or are forthcoming in publications that include The Caribbean Writer, 34th Parallel, Lindenwood Review, Muzzle Magazine, qarrtsiluni, Extract(s), So to Speak, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Journal of General Internal Medicine, Love Insha’Allah, Los Angeles Review, Museum of Americana, HEArt Journal and Callaloo Journal.
Registration is encouraged for the monthly Vanderbilt at the Library programs. For more information, email Lynn Maddox or call 615-322-6384.