For over 20 years the Tennessee Chapter of ACP has sponsored annual literature and medicine reading retreats. The concept has remained the same over the years. Fiction, drama, poetry, with occasional critical writing and artwork, are selected well in advance of a retreat. Readings define a common theme. "Family," "otherness," and "the experience of severe illness" are among topics of prior years. Registrants and their spouses/significant others/family members receive the year's readings--a novel, a play, a selection of poetry and pieces of short fiction--weeks before the seminar. On an early spring day we gather at a state park in East Tennessee for a weekend of lectures and discussion of the works. Other ACP chapters have created their own version of literature and medicine conferences, and a shorter workshop version of such seminars has been a popular feature at a number of Annual Sessions.
At the Tennessee retreats we have long had a tradition of registrants presenting as a part of the program either original literary works or commentaries and reviews of the works of others. During the months that separated retreats, we sought a means for "staying in touch," for sharing our literary thoughts and output. A decade ago my wife and I edited a quarterly newsletter entitled "Grand Rounds in Literature" built around the writings of attendees at the retreat. After three years this project ran out of material.
During the 2002 retreat, the idea of an on-line journal had broad appeal. We sought a regularly updated mechanism in which we could offer ideas relating to the broad interface of medicine and non-technical literature, present original works, reviews and commentaries, and share passages from other literary works that caught our fancy. We also anticipated that such a journal could alert us to appealing literary conferences in other parts of the country.
Contributions to the site are encouraged and are welcomed from physicians, their spouses and friends who have attended reading retreats. We seek to serve as a forum for all who cherish and seek to define the close relationship between literary and medical artistry.
We welcome original prose and poetry, reviews of drama, movies, literary works as well as quotations from work that you particularly admire. We encourage submissions from physicians, their families and friends, from nurses, medical students and any one involved in the care of the sick or injured. Please send your material to:
Clif Cleaveland, MD
1000 Signal Mountain Boulevard
Signal Mountain, TN 37377