Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
January 7, 1998


A new collection of poems by Emory University writer/cardiologist John Stone, M.D., has been published by Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rogue, 1998). WHERE WATER BEGINS: new poems and prose, is Dr. Stone's fourth volume of poetry and his first to appear in 13 years.

The collection does on paper what Dr. Stone manages to do with his life. It invites humor (The Sassy Duck Joke Poem) and sadness (The Blue Truck, referring to the death of his wife, Lu, of 33 years) and wisdom (Transplant, about a heart transplantation) to the same party ­ and they all get along.

His willingness to share astute observations of the outside world with candid observations of his world within is, perhaps, the key to the work's cohesiveness.

This Kind Of Thing Doesn't Happen Often And When It Does You Should Pay Attention, describes the poet's delight in spotting, "a ghostly sphere from someone's bath," a soap bubble, float amidst traffic on Piedmont Road. He Attends Exercise Class-Once, includes phrases like "maneuvers calculated to deform," "prisoners" and "the terror of the rack."

Dr. Stone is professor of medicine (cardiology), associate dean and director of Admissions at the Emory University School of Medicine, and has served as lecturer for the English Department. He has three times been selected Best Clinical Professor at Emory and has given the medical school's graduation address four times. In 1992, he received the Governor's Award in the Humanities. He has taught courses in literature and medicine at Emory and at Oxford University, England.

His essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Journal of the American Medical Association, MD and Discover, among others. Dr. Stone's previous poetry and short prose are collected in three books, all from LSU press:

THE SMELL OF MATCHES (1972 and 1989), IN ALL THIS RAIN (1980) and RENAMING THE STREETS (1985). IN THE COUNTRY OF HEARTS: new and collected essays, was published in 1990 by Delacorte Press/Dell.

Dr. Stone also is co-editor of an anthology of literature and medicine called ON DOCTORING: Stories, Poems, Essays (Simon and Schuster, 1991). The book is presented annually as a gift from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to every student entering a U.S. medical school.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Stone graduated from Millsaps College, then received his M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis).

He trained in medicine and cardiology at the University of Rochester and Emory University. In 1969, he joined the Emory medical school faculty.

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