Intended for healthcare professionals


A doctor and a poet

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 01 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:479
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, doctor and writer

    I once met the doctor and poet Dannie Abse on a train. There is no reason why he should remember me, because I am not particularly memorable, but I was very impressed by him. The first volume of his autobiography, A Poet in the Family, is exquisitely written; and if I were dean of a medical school I would make all my students read it. Perhaps it is just as well that I am not dean of a medical school.

    One has to be a doctor to appreciate fully some of the lines of Abse's poetry. Describing, for example, a bedroom in a Holiday Inn, one of those faceless hotels that transform Tegucigalpa into Wigan and vice …

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