Narrative Medicine for Providers

Poets and Poetry Collections:

Physician Poets:

Rafael Campo

William Carlos Williams

C. Dale Young

Poets writing on illness, life and death:

Emily Dickinson

Silvia Plath

Dylan Thomas

Do Not Go Gentle

Death Shall Have no Dominion

Good Reads:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

By Anne Fadiman

This book explores the difficulty of communicating across cultures about health and health care, especially when physician and patient have, without each other knowing it, different definitions of disease and in particular the disease in question.

Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

By Tracy Kidder

In this book, Kidder describes the life and work of Paul Farmer, a physician who has devoted his life to overcoming health care disparities in the developing world.

The Doctor Stories

By Richard Selzer

A collection of short stories exploring what it means to tend to the sick and dying.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

By Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks tells of patients and their neurological conditions with great compassion and understanding. He shows how such conditions can close certain windows of perception and comprehension while at the same time opening others.

My Own Country

By Abraham Verghese

Verghese describes his work with patients with AIDS in eastern Tennessee at the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, chronicling the varying responses of the community to a new, sexually transmitted disease.

How Not to be a Doctor

By John Launer

This book includes over fifty essays covering a range of topics including music, poetry, literature and psychoanalysis, as well as contemporary medical politics and the personal experience of being a doctor.

Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal

By Rachel Naomi Remen

Dr. Remen, a physician, professor of medicine, therapist and long-term survivor of chronic illness, invites us to listen from the soul through a remarkable collection of true stories. 

How to love the world: Poems of gratitude and hope

By James Crews

The book offers readers uplifting, deeply felt, and relatable poems by well-known poets from all walks of life and all parts of the US. The author offers writing and reflection prompts as well as reading group questions and topics for discussion as well.

Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient

By Norman Cousins

Norman Cousins' firsthand account of victory against terminal disease encourages patients to take charge of their own treatment. Cousins was a journalist and activist as well as professor of medical humanities at UCLE, where he studied the biochemistry of human emotions and their relationship to healing. Cousins describes his battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis, analyzing his journey as related to holistic medicine and understanding the power of mind over body.

What Patients Taught Me: A medical Student's Journey

By Audrey Young

Dr. Young writes about her medical training in small rural communities around the world, reflecting on the important lessons she learned along the way. 

On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency

By Emily Transue

Dr. Transue shares the experiences of a newly-minted doctor checking in for her first day of residency through the following three years of life as a resident physician.