Thank you for participating! We hope you join us again next year.
We're happy to announce our winners for the 2013-14 Contest below.
Thanks to all for your interest in the Pritzker Poetry Contest,
dedicated to inspiring compassion in medicine. Maintaining lifelong compassion
for patients is fundamentally important to the practice of medicine. For
millennia, poetry has inspired and fostered significant emotions for both the
reader and writer. Thus, channeling the power of poetry through introspection
can enhance relationships, improve care, and better quality of life, for
patients and personnel alike.
The Pritzker Poetry Contest Committee
2013-14 Pritzker Poetry Contest Winners:
Open Form Category — First Place
by Alexandea Garnett (third year medical student)
I ask her for her full name and the year
that she was born,
I ask her where she lives and who
resides at home,
I ask about her current health, of
aching joints and belly pains,
I ask about her diet and the food that
fuels her veins.
I ask of juvenile ailments, though she
struggles to recall,
I ask about her parents’ death: At what
age? And how?
I ask of sordid details from a youth
Times long ago forgotten, buried and
forgiven, by most but not us.
I ask her of her travels, her
employment, and her sleep,
And bit-by-bit she offers up these
pieces of her life
Because a body’s secrets are no longer
hers to keep,
Now portions of a record, scribed by a
I smile politely and turn to leave, our
encounter at its end,
But at the door I take pause, as
something in me stirs.
I catch her eye and offer up one brief
For it seems strange that in exchange
for everything I took,
The only thing I’ve shared with her, is
a name she’d not quite heard.
Open Form Category — Second Place
is just to say.
by Wei Wei Lee, MD (Assistant Professor of Medicine)
I have felt
that flutters in
you were probably
was just nerves
my voice trembles
I start to speak
*This poem is based on the William Carlos Williams poem of the same title,
"This is just to say"]
Six Word Poem Category — First Place
by Jasmine Dowell, MD, Pediatric Resident
broken heart divided, leaves two.
pediatric resident observes the mourning parents of an infant with congenital
Six Word Poem Category — Second Place
by Marc Robinson, MD, Medicine Resident
snow blankets her heart's ruins.
began to fall as a patient passed in the ICU, providing a beautiful moment for
the patient's devastated wife.
2013-14 Pritzker Poetry Contest Finalists:
Rules and Guidelines
Earth Stood Still.
The earth stood still in the middle
of the day,
I tried to run faster just to get
The tears fell from my eyes like
rain from the clouds,
The sound of that word was just so
Then one day you came in and gave
me your name,
Doctor who did you say?
Oh, that's right, the same as
The trial of the medicine you gave
me was no joke,
But your words of encouragement
filled me with hope.
And then one day we came to the
Together, my Doctor, my friend.
The earth stood still in the middle
of the day.
So long ago and so far away.
Sleepless night in ICU,
Restless and anxious patients
that do not know what to do,
Afraid that they may not see the
light of day,
Amidst their pain that they
My heart was transformed from a
heart of stone
to a heart of flesh,
When I see their tears rolling on
Searching for answers they
Just by being there, comforting
reassuring that I'm on their side,
Eases the pain they feel inside,
Saying a prayer calms their fearful
Knowing that our Creator had set
My job turns into joy...
it is not tedious, it is not
It is serving those who needed it
Watching the matriculation ceremony,
Medical students with wide grins
striding across the stage,
Reveling in crisp, pristine white coats.
I find myself asking…
When did I lose the awe?
From the recesses emerge the memories of
the “me” that was.
The solemnity and gratitude of
encountering my first cadaver.
The trepidation of my first surgical
The dubious honor of pronouncing death.
Lingering, the finality washing over me
time and again.
When did I lose the awe?
When did WE lose the awe?
Daily engaged in a battle to remain
Overrun with time constraints and
To feel with the same intensity,
To genuinely sympathize, empathize
To not relegate deaths to the realm of
I eke out small victories.
And I whisper a prayer of hope,
For those smiling students in the
pristine white coats.
Are My Strength.
Iv thru my vein,
a beat in my heart,
air flows thru my lungs my life has
For you I shall fight,
for you give it my all,
for you I'll fight till the last
beat in my heart.
I'll fight this tough battle with
you by my side,
you give me the strength you keep
From this bed I shall rise and
stand on my feet as we walk out the door the rest of our lives awaits.
“They coded him.”
awake and talking.
blood on his high school t-shirt.
Holding each other.
Push contrast – intravenous –
and the hot bark gluts
the clotted veins branched
off the street.
I don’t know how film works.
How the release of
leaves a stain.
I can only assume
the crash-tests weren’t
That photons bleed black.
I do know the break
in the branch
of the angiogram
is killing him.
Which brings me back
from the clinical detachment
of rib from ribs
to the face of the stranger who
is my father, and son,
and neighbor, and still
a stranger –
I tell you to breathe just right.
in common time – understand
it’s not the time to breathe
But neither is it time
to lose the beat and
I promise we’re doing all we can.
me what happened to you.
Attending saying goodbye to her dying mentor, a fellow physician, as she
removed him from the ventilator at his family's request.)
First Stage of Grief.
isn't him. That isn't him.
The mother of a deceased sixteen-year-old gunshot wound victim at Jackson Park
in the MICU.
the nurses interact with patients, families, or staff.)
anticipate. Palliate. Do not resuscitate.
final selfless act, for life.
unexpected death, leading to organ donation and the saving of five lives.)
Greatest Gift We Can Give.
the inevitability of death.
I going to die soon?
11. Old Age.
just can't remember, I'm sorry.
Timeline and Judging
Once all entries are received and screened for inappropriate content, poems will enter a first round of
judging to select ten finalists in each poem category. All finalist
entries will then be posted on this website for the community to read, and enjoy. The finalist poems will advance to the
final round of judging, in which judges from a multidisciplinary panel will select winning submissions.
Winners will be notified by the Pritzker Poetry Contest committee, awarded prize monies, and honored in a
The timeline for the 2013-2014 Pritzker Poetry Contest is as follows:
- November 7, 2013: Opening day for poem submission.
- January 15, 2014: Final day for poem submission.
- January 16, 2014: Finalist selection begins.
- February 1, 2014: Finalists announced on this site. Winners selection begins.
- April 1, 2014: Winners are notified.
- Spring 2014: Winners are honored at a public forum and awarded prize monies.
The following prizes will be awarded to winning entries in each of the poem categories:
- Open Poem, First Place: $1,000.00
- Open Poem, Second Place: $500.00
- Six-Word Poem, First Place: $500.00
- Six-Word Poem, Second Place: $250.00
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