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Poetry in Medicine: Professor Warwick Anderson shortlisted for poetry prize



21 February 2012

Poems in 'Hard Cases, Brief Lives' by Professor Warwick Anderson are inspired by his background in medicine and history
Poems in 'Hard Cases, Brief Lives' by Professor Warwick Anderson are inspired by his background in medicine and history

Professor Warwick Anderson of the Department of History has been shortlisted for the 2011 Mary Gilmore Award for his recent book of poems entitled Hard Cases, Brief Lives.

The award is offered by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) for the best first book of poetry published by an Australian.

Professor Anderson, a doctor and historian focusing on biology, medicine and public health in the Asia-Pacific region, has always considered himself a writer, first and foremost.

"Historical research," he says, "is just part of the repertoire."

Understandably, some of the poems deal with medical, scientific or historical topics, while some even deal with his personal literary history.

"I started writing poetry as a medical student and young doctor," he explains. "When I began graduate studies in the history of science, I feared the poetry had gone out of my life, but I drifted back to it, or it found me, a few years ago."

His return to poetry has been rewarded, and Professor Anderson says "To learn I'm shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore award makes me feel almost young again."

The doctor-turned-historian-turned-poet will learn if his poems have won the award at the ASAL annual conference in July.

Professor Anderson's collection of poems is available from Ginninderra Press.

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