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Poetry Can Comfort, Cheer Patients

Within the walls of a hospital, there are joy beyond compare and sorrow with seemingly no limit. New lives are helped into the world. Souls leave it. A doctor cheers her success tackling a tough infection while, across the hall, a patient absorbs news that his cancer has returned. Alongside the science of medicine, a rich human story plays out. What better place for poetry? That’s what Anna Soter, a professor of English education at Ohio State University, figured when she proposed three years ago that poets regularly visit the Wexner Medical Center. Last week, former radio-show host and poet Fred Andrle joined faculty members, students and patients at the Ross Heart Hospital to share his words, those of writers he admires and some thoughts on the art of poetry. The hospital’s poet’s series is part of a larger effort to bring the arts into the medical setting. Art and science, after all, are inexorably tied in medicine, said Dr. Bryan Martin, chairman of the hospital’s medicine and arts committee.

Columbus Dispatch: Complete story