An Anthology of Poetry and Medicine


When I resolved to compile a poetry anthology for my thesis project, the first thing I wanted to do was name it. This desire was a departure from my normal creative process: when I write poems a title is the last thing to exist. Not yet knowing what form the anthology would take, I jotted down a few ideas, one of which was “antibody.” After some research into existing and recent anthologies on the subject of medicine, I decided to compile poems that specifically include medical apparatuses. The name stuck.
I’m more than a little fond of the wordplay evoked by “antibody,” particularly in relation to content in antiBODY. A literal antibody is a natural creation of the body; more specifically, a blood protein generated to fight intruders. When you change the cadence of the word—anti-body—it becomes a way of labeling something as being opposed to the body. Medical apparatuses are dichotomous in much the same way. They are able to save and maintain life, but they are also inherently inhuman and “other.” And for all the incredible work medical apparatuses do, the human body rejects them at times. That thought—that we each possess a living body capable of healing itself both working solo and in tandem with technological devices—underlies every poem in antiBODY.
I considered curating the reader’s experience by dividing antiBODY into a few thematic sections, but I’ve decided to let readers (you) group poems together on their own (there are, after all, only twenty-eight of them). If you have time to take in all twenty-eight in sequence, you’ll find a button at the bottom of each page; these will guide you through the anthology alphabetically. However, if you prefer a little more poetry and a little less medicine, click on the menu at the top left corner, leading to the table of contents, and have a go at them in the order of your choosing.
Allow me to quickly and sincerely thank everyone who made this anthology possible—not only my wonderful contributors across the globe, but also all those who have influenced antiBODY’s realization. You know who you are, so I’ll list your first names in alphabetical order and you can sort yourselves out: Alan, Allison, Grant, Hannabeth, Jane, Jordynn, Layla, Mary Carol, and Ray.
—Calvin Olsen

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