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Departure from the Darkness and the Cold


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About the Author

Dr. Hergott is Emeritus Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Senior Scholar in Writing at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities in the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has two writing awards in his name in the U.S., and an international poetry award. Learn more at www.LawrenceHergottMD.net


You will sometime soon, whether you are physician or patient, or God help you both, find yourself in the throes of a heavy sadness no one can fathom. There cannot be, you are certain, anyone on this dear Earth, nor in the Seventh Circle of Hell, suffering as you are. Just as there cannot exist anyone who could possibly sympathize. This is where poetry works best. Well, some poetry. A book of poetry written not to win some award, nor to gain academic advancement, nor to promote that latest round of talks, seminars, or coffees that the poet finds only too late empties the soul. You want understanding, courage to rise from the dirt of disgrace and continue. You have that book in your hands. Dr. Hergott, out of a personal loss few of us could survive whole, somehow found that strength, fashioned it into the sword of art, and offers it to you. One of life's greatest tragedies is missed opportunity. Don't pass up this one.
--Michael A. LaCombe, MD, FACP, MACP, FRCP (London), LHD (hon.), Poetry Editor, Annals of Internal Medicine

For those of us at the University of Colorado, we have long known and long cherished the soulful writing of Dr. Larry Hergott. With this collection, many other readers--patients, colleagues, students, leaders--can now peer into a medical life well lived and a writing life finely wrought. Dr. Hergott is the embodiment of a healer, one who attends with respect and compassion to the pain and suffering of others. He knows our vulnerabilities because he himself has experienced great loss as a father, a physician and a friend. He has the courage to be authentic and empathic, and I can't think of any moment in our culture when we needed the balm of his words and the example of his caring more than now.
--Therese Jones, PhD, Associate Director for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, University of Colorado; Editor, Journal of Medical Humanities

This book, artfully written, has the potential to change how you view medicine and life, as a doctor or a patient. Dr. Hergott's writing has profoundly influenced my view of medicine - of how truly virtuous scientific medicine can, and must, be practiced with compassion. Dr. Hergott has written achingly beautiful poems and essays reflecting on loss and grief - born from personal experience. I am a different physician and person for having read his work.
--John Harper, MD, Founder and Director of the international annual symposium in Dallas, Texas, Intersections: Literature and Medicine.

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