NEPA Scene Staff

Paul Holdengräber converses with doctor/poet Rafael Campo about ‘The Arts of Healing’ at TCMC

Paul Holdengräber converses with doctor/poet Rafael Campo about ‘The Arts of Healing’ at TCMC
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

“The Arts of Healing” will be presented through a conversation with the New York Public Library’s Paul Holdengräber and poet and author Rafael Campo, M.D., at The Commonwealth Medical College on Thursday, Oct. 23. The event, which is a collaborative program of the University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum and TCMC, will take place from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. in TCMC’s auditorium (525 Pine St., Scranton).

A book signing and reception will take place immediately following the discussion. Copies of Dr. Campo’s most recent book, “Alternative Medicine,” will be available for sale at the event.

The community is also invited to hear Campo read some of his poetry at 4 p.m. in room 2001 at TCMC. Campo’s poem called “Iatrogenic” from “Alternative Medicine” was posted on the Duke University Press blog last year and is reposted below:


You say, “I do this to myself.” Outside,
my other patients wait. Maybe snow falls;
we’re all just waiting for our deaths to come,
we’re all just hoping it won’t hurt too much.
You say, “It makes it seem less lonely here.”
I study them, as if the deep red cuts
were only wounds, as if they didn’t hurt
so much. The way you hold your upturned arms,
the cuts seem aimed at your unshaven face.
Outside, my other patients wait their turns.
I run gloved fingertips along their course,
as if I could touch pain itself, as if
by touching pain I might alleviate
my own despair. You say, “It’s snowing, Doc.”
The snow, instead of howling, soundlessly
comes down. I think you think it’s beautiful;
I say, “This isn’t all about the snow,
is it?” The way you hold your upturned arms,
I think about embracing you, but don’t.
I think, “We do this to ourselves.” I think
the falling snow explains itself to us,
blinding, faceless, and so deeply wounding.

Holdengräber, director of public programs at the New York Public Library, founded and directs the library’s event series “LIVE from the NYPL.” He has curated more than 150 programs and was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. He has previously participated in Schemel Forum collaborative programs, including last year’s “Speaking of Broadway: A conversation between Douglas Carter Beane and Paul Holdengräber.”

Campo, a practicing physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is the author of “The Healing Art: A Doctor’s Black Bag of Poetry.” His interests include employing literature and other humanities in medical treatment and education.

“Paul Holdengräber in Conversation with M.D. and Poet Rafael Campo on ‘The Arts of Healing’” is presented free of charge; however, reservations are requested. To make a reservation, contact Emily Brees, Schemel Forum assistant, at 570-941-6206 or

For additional information about Schemel Forum programs and memberships, visit the University of Scranton website or contact Sondra Myers at 570-941-4089 or