James Borton, a teaching associate in the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University, recently edited "The Art of Medicine in Metaphors: A Collection of Poems and Narratives." The book is a compilation of stories, essays and poems that deal with illness and medicine. The anthology is published by Copernicus Healthcare and will be available late January.
"This anthology includes thematic reflections on death, diagnoses, fears, humor, joy and transformation, both physical and spiritual," says Borton. "These writers all succeed in telling their story, sharing their brokenness, discovering healing metaphors, and, at unexpected moments, offering grace and renewal."
Borton channels his own experiences into the editing of this anthology. During his recovery from triple bypass surgery, Borton discovered the importance of stories concerning illness and injury. He calls these stories of illness and treatment "narrative medicine" and looks at them as a partner to a patient's medical history.
Borton began teaching for CCU's English Department in fall 2012. This spring he is teaching "Themes in Literature and Medicine," an interdisciplinary studies class. The course covers illness narratives or pathographies, medical themes in literature, social meanings of illness and writing strategies appropriate to the healing arts. The course will also delve into the modern role of technology in health and medicine (e.g. social media, e-patients and illness weblogs).
In early February, Borton will address the American Medical Student Association Humanities Institute about writing illness narratives.