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Bellevue Literary Review - Spring 2005

This twice-yearly perfect-bound journal, which focuses on the practices and experiences of medicine, illness, and related topics, always contains touching fiction, non-fiction, and poetry of high quality. The knockout story for me in this issue was a delicate story of class, race, and responses to miscarriage, titled “Baby,” by Lois Taylor, and the poem “Being Nursed by Walt Whitman,” by Jennifer Santos Madriaga, about the experience of teaching poetry to dying students: “My father asks me what it’s like to teach / writing to dying people. ‘Are you afraid?’/ ‘Dad, we’re all going to die,’ I say. / ‘Yes,’ he says, ‘You’re right.’ / There’s a brief silence as static crackles / on the long distance telephone line./ ‘You’re right, absolutely right.’” I also enjoyed “Lithium and the Absence of Desire” by Virginia Chase Sutton. A few lines: “At first / you imagine your body may adjust or the pills // will come to understand you. It is no use. / Desire falters after the first mouthful, a little // swallow. How you will miss it, the tug and pull / at the body’s sweet dampness.” For anyone who’s interested in medicine or going through a health crisis or working in medical field, Bellevue Literary Review is a must-read; for everyone else, prepare to be surprised by these works of heart-felt despair and hope in the face of death, birth, and other surprises. [Bellevue Literary Review, Department of Medicine OBV-612, NYU School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue New York, NY 10016. E-mail: . Single issue $7. blr.med.nyu.edu/] – Jeannine Hall Gailey
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Review Posted on May 31, 2005
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