This is the fifth, and final, collection of poems by the surgeon-poet, George S. Bascom, who practiced for over 35 years in Manhattan, Kansas. The poems cover a wide range of topics in a variety of forms, ranging from free verse to sonnet. Many of them are concerned with the poet's medical experiences, both as physician and as patient. The poems arising from Bascom's own illness with prostate cancer are among the most effective in the book; these include, among others, "Operation," "Carpe Diem," "I With My Death," "Notice," "Metastatic Disease," "Progression," and "Medicine Circle." "Gloris," "Post Op," "7-2-59," and "Lydia" are fine evocations of patients and patient care.


George Bascom died of prostate cancer in 1995. He published five volumes of poetry from 1982 through 1993, all by Sunflower University Press, from which Medicine Stone is available [1531 Yuma (Box 1009), Manhattan, Kansas 66502]. Bascom's poetry is interesting, accessible, and generally quite well-crafted. He has a surgeon's eye for meaningful detail.

The group of poems that deal with the author's own illness might be particularly useful to include in a course on the dying patient. Compare these, for example, with the series by L. E. Sissman (A Deathplace, Dying: An Introduction, and Dying: A Resurrection, 1969 in this database). For two of Bascom's other poems and a brief commentary on his work, see R. M. Caplan: "furthermore..." in Academic Medicine, 67: 310-311 (1992). Bascom was also the author of "Sketches from a Surgeon's Notebook," Chapter 3 in Empathy and the Practice of Medicine, eds. H. Spiro, M. G. Curnen, E. Peschel, D. St. James; Yale University Press, 1993, pp. 17-33.


Sunflower Univ. Press

Place Published

Manhattan, Kans.



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