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Narrative Medicine featuring Poets Rebecca Foust and Jennifer Franklin

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The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives announces a new virtual program Poetry and Narrative Medicine: a program that includes live interviews and readings. This program will air on Thursdays in April from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and organize around topics at the interface of medicine and poetry.

About the poets: Rebecca Foust is the author of seven books including Paradise DriveThe Unexploded Ordnance Bin, and ONLY, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2022. Recognitions include the 2020 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the CP Cavafy and James Hearst poetry prizes, a Marin Poet Laureateship, and fellowships from The Frost Place, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and Sewanee. She earned a California Golden Bell award for her work co-founding and running parent support groups for students with learning challenges in Marin County public schools and now teaches regularly, reads fiction for Narrative Magazine, and is the Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change.

Jennifer Franklin has published two full-length collections, most recently No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018). Her third book, If Some God Shakes Your House, will be published by Four Way Books in 2023. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Bennington Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, Broadsided Press, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, JAMA, Los Angeles Review, Love’s Executive Order, The Nation, New England Review, Paris Review, Plume, “poem-a-day” on, and Prairie Schooner. She holds an AB from Brown University and an MFA from Columbia University where she was the Harvey Baker Fellow. She teaches in Manhattanville’s MFA program. For the past eight years, she has taught manuscript revision at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, where she runs the reading series, serves as Program Director, and co-edits Slapering Hol Press. She lives in New York City.

Curated and co-hosted by Stockbridge poet and physician Owen Lewis, the five topics are:
Addiction and Recovery, by Kate Daniels; Addiction and the Loss of a Brother, by Sheffield poet Abigail Wender and Owen Lewis; Autism–Two Mothers’ Perspectives, by Rebecca Foust and Jennifer Franklin; Cancer–Acceptance and Hope, by British poet Wendy French; and A Doctor Speaks, by Dan Becker. As poetry in general offers Medicine for the Soul, this program seeks to offer comfort and understanding on these specific topics, both for individuals, their families, and for caregivers.

Lewis, who presented his latest book Field Light, a weave of poetry and Berkshires history, on the Library’s regular Wednesday program in October, is a professor at Columbia University and teaches various aspects of Narrative Medicine at the medical school. He is also an adjunct professor at Einstein Medical College. In this series, he will present on “Addiction and the Loss of a Brother” reading from his book best man, in conversation with Sheffield poet Abigail Wender, whose book Reliquary was just published.

The program will begin on April 1, 2021 with Kate Daniels reading from her recent book In The Year Of My Son’s Recovery which details a mother’s struggles to support her son in recovery. Daniels is the Director of the Creative Writing Department at Vanderbilt University. Autism–Two Mothers’ Perspectives features Rebecca Foust, former poet laureate of Marin County reading from Dark Card, and Jennifer Franklin, program director at The Hudson Valley Writers Center, reading from No Small Gift. Both poets are mothers to developmentally challenged young adult children. Wendy French, a poet who has worked with various organizations and charities in the field of health as a poet-tutor, will read from Thinks Itself a Hawk, and speak about her extensive experience working with individuals with cancer. The series concludes with internist Daniel Becker from the University of Virginia Medical School, whose first book Second Chance won the 2019 New Issues Poetry Prize. Becker brings us inside the process of a physician’s listening.

All of the books from which the poets will read are now in the collection of the Stockbridge Library, donated either by the authors or their publishers. The series will be hosted by Library Director Wendy Pearson. Access to the program is facilitated through the library’s website: