Sunday, December 31, 2023

On the first annual conference of the Philippine Society of Literature and Narrative Medicine

Moderated the Philippine Society of Literature and Narrative Medicine's first annual congress last night and chaired Prof. Marj Evasco's session on Close Reading Texts. By acting as "chair," that meant I introduced her to the audience and did the backend work of sharing PDFs in Zoom screens. I have always loved working with her. Was blown away by her insights on the poetry of Jean Tan ("After Winter, Before Spring") and Jade Mark Capiñanes ("Bioluminescence") and reignited in me the love for poetry. Poems demand time and attention, Prof. Marj said. I told her, in behalf of the audience, that poems intimidate us because many times we don't get them. When I asked her what we should do in case that happens, she said, in sum, that it's a natural reaction, but if the language and imagery captivate us, then let's continue to dwell on it and enjoy it. Not all poems have lessons to impart. 


Dr. Joti Tabula, trailblazing president of PSLN, spoke on Basic Concepts of Narrative Medicine, citing Rita Charon's seminal work on the subject. The poet John Brixter Tino spoke on Patient Narratives and shared his poems, in glorious Filipino, with us. He has a rare genetic condition that causes, among others, cataracts, which he alludes to in his poem about a visit to an eye doctor. Dr. Noel Pingoy, in his talk, Introduction to Medical Humanities, talked about the development of the field throughout history. 

Knew many people in the Zoom room. Some of my students and colleagues from the MSU College of Medicine participated. Dr. Analyza Galia even shared a verse during the exercise on writing about longing. Student Ellaine Grace Plaga offered an insightful interpretation of the poem, "After Winter, Before Spring." 



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