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Straight from the Heart

Yale’s cardiology chief has got a new book of poems

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Cherubim studying the heart of a dissected dog.(US National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Division)

Today on Tablet, Alexander Aciman takes a look at the poetry of Barry Zaret, a poet who was late to the party, but is making quite a stir. Zaret is also one of the most respect cardiologists in the country.

In short, nothing about Zaret would lead me to believe that he was leading a less-than-secret second life as a poet. Perhaps this is because his recent collection of poems, Journeys, was written, in large part, during the small hours of the morning—at 3:30 a.m., after his coffee, before his morning run, and certainly before heading off to the university to see patients and to teach. Despite being one of the most respected cardiologists in America, Zaret writes more than many full-time writers do. He often goes through 10 or even 15 drafts of a poem before it is finally perfect and cannot stand to do anything less because his poems are, as he himself says “a fabric of [his] whole life.” He writes about his father’s kosher butcher shop. He writes about going to Rockaway beach and saying Kaddish for a friend who died. In one of his poems he even imagines inviting Leonard Cohen to his Sukkah, and warns him that autumn in New England is cold, and that he should “Bring a sweater.”

Check it out here.

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Straight from the Heart

Yale’s cardiology chief has got a new book of poems

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