I’m Gonna Slap Those Doctors—
Reflections on Medicine, Literature, and

“Jack Coulehan is among the best of the best of the best doctor-poets.”
—Dannie Abse, physician and writer

Medicine Stone, by Dr. Jack Coulehan, is a collection of poems that looks at the world through the eyes of a physician and poet and is about human nature and human frailty of both mind and body. The book is divided into three sections. The title section, “Medicine Stone” contains poems with medical themes from the perspective of both doctors and patients. The writer and physician Anton Chekhov, who holds a special fascination for the author, is the subject of the second section, “The Cherry Orchard, ” and “First Ascent of the Future” is about the history of science and human culture, which is populated by Keats, Whitman, Darwin, Ishi, as well as by anthropology and current events and reflections on family life, experiences, and dreams.

Although the book is divided into parts, there are qualities that inform and strengthen the poems consistently. These are clearly intelligent, sensitive poems by an educated and compassionate man. The style is straightforward but often ironic, with moments of anger and pain balanced by moments of humor. And throughout the collection we meet and remeet the inevitable enemy, death.

Jack Coulehan began practicing medicine on the Navajo Indian Reservation. He is now the Director of the Institute for Medicine in Contemporary Society and Professor of Preventive Medicine at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author of numerous articles and book chapters in the medical literature.

His poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Poetry Review, Kansas Quarterly, Poets & Writers; and in medical journals, including Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Practice, and Literature and Medicine. His poems are frequently anthologized, most recently in On Doctoring (Simon & Schuster) and The Tyranny of the Normal (Kent State University Press). His most recent books are Blood and Bone (edited with Angela Belli, University of Iowa Press, 1998), an anthology of poetry by physicians, The Medical Interview: Mastering the Skills for Clinical Practice (F. A. Davis, 2001), and The Heavenly Ladder (Ginninderra Press, 2001). In 1999 Coulehan was the Merck Fellow at Yaddo. He lives in Setauket, New York.


Medicine Stone—Poems
by Jack Coulehan
ISBN 1-56474-405-1
112 pages, paperback, $12.00

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