F149. Strong Medicine: The Poetry of Addiction

Ballroom A, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Friday, March 9, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


From Horace to Hass, poets have both lauded and vilified getting high. The “milk of paradise” can lead to masterworks, while addiction deserts ambition and destroys lives. In this panel, five award-winning poets, including two physician-poets, explore the swerve from inspiration to ruination from different perspectives and diverse writing styles. Themes of addiction in self, family, mentors, patients—e.g., post-9/11 veterans—as well as the seductive intimacy of shared intoxication, are featured.



Dawn McGuire is a neurologist and an award-winning poet. She has four published collections, including The Aphasia Cafe (winner of the Indie Book Award for poetry) and American Dream with Exit Wound. McGuire integrates her work with patients and neuroscience in many poems. Poetry makes her a better MD.

Keveh Akbar is founding editor of Divedapper. His poems apear in Poetry, APR, Ploughshares, Tin House, and elsewhere. The recipient of a Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, Kaveh's first book, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, will be out with Alice James Books in 2017.

Lynn Emanuel is the author of five books of poetry, Hotel Fiesta, The Dig (National Poetry Series Award), Then, Suddenly- (Eric Matthieu King Award Academy of American Poets), Noose and Hook, and, in 2016, The Nerve of it: New and Selected Poems (Lenore Marshall Award, Academy of American Poets).

Owen Lewis is the winner of the 2016 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry & Medicine and the 2016 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. Lewis is professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and author of four poetry collections: March in San Miguel, Sometimes Full of Daylight, Best Man, and the forthcoming Marriage Map.

Nick Flynn has published nine books, including My Feelings, Some Ether, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb, and Blind Huber. His work has been translated into fifteen languages.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center