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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
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
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
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
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
Clif Cleaveland, MD
1000 Signal Mountain Boulevard
Signal Mountain, TN 37377