The Talking Cure highlights physician Jack Coulehan's poetic career, exploring tenderness and steadiness in medical practice—observing moments, healing gestures, and internal response that reveal the worth of the individual and an ethic of compassion.”

Jack Coulehan is the finest physician-poet working today. An acknowledged man of letters, he has been awarded both the Annals Poetry Prize and the American College of Physicians' Nicholas Davies Award for Writings in medical humanism. If you are a physician who doesn't have time for poetry, better make time for this collection, because your patients are going to read it. If you are a non-physician, here in your hands is the best glimpse available into our world of medicine, its joys and sorrows, its discoveries, and its mysteries. Here are poems that will stay with you, poems of courage, poems of value to you. Dr. Coulehan gives us the best words in the best order. You can't do better than that.

-Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, FRCP (London), LHD (hon.) Poetry Editor, Annals of Internal Medicine

Jack Coulehan, the author of this remarkable collection, once wrote that physicians need both steadiness and tenderness to practice their trade. I would add, as do poets. Each poem in The Talking Cure brings a disarmingly honest and steadfast gaze to the joys and sorrows of the human condition, filtered through profound observations about doctors and patients, people, and places. Simultaneously, each piece is suffused with fierce compassion that acknowledges human vulnerability and finitude while celebrating our resilience and indomitable spirit. These poems will inspire and uplift you, even as they break your heart.

-Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D. Director, Program in Medical Humanities & Arts, UCI School of Medicine

Praise for Other Works

Medicine Stone

“No one writes about the beauty and frailty of the human body with a keener eye and a larger heart. The poems about that other great physician and writer Anton Chekhov are small masterpieces. Medicine Stone is a magnificent achievement.”

-Richard Selzer, MD

Medicine Stone

“We are hearing the unique voice of a masterful narrator who has stood witness to the anguish and the hope of everyday life, as only a compassionate bedside doctor can perceive them. The words and rhythms of humanity are in this book, set to the cadences of an understanding heart.”

-Sherwin B. Nuland, MD

Bursting with Danger and Music

“With courage, conviction, d an eye for the singular, Jack Coulehan brings us to the intersection of body and soul. His poems are thoughtful, inviting, and transporting.”

-Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD

Bursting with Danger and Music

“In pitch-perfect poems that see clearly the humanity behind a patient’s illness and actions, Coulehan investigates life’s essential minutiae—the observed moment, the healing gesture, the internal response. The music in these poems is the sweet melody of compassion, of the way, when we are at our best, we care for and cherish one another.”

- Cortney Davis

The Heavenly Ladder

“Jack Coulehan’s poems are full of voices: Voices of the patient, insistent, quirky, and wise; voices of the ever-new world, from Kosovo to Ohio; voices of mentors, from Chekhov to Keats. These are poems of a past—and present—master.”

-John Stone, MD