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THE PLUMBING AND POETRY OF MEDICINE: How Cancer Made Me A Grateful Believer In Both…

There are two essential dimensions of leadership: “plumbing,” i.e., the capacity to apply known techniques effectively, and “poetry,” which draws on a leader’s great actions and identity and pushes him or her to explore unexpected avenues, discover interesting meanings, and approach life with enthusiasm.  ––James March, Stanford Professor Emeritus Cancer! The word itself hisses, stings and…

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Political Despair and The Value of A Friend

Years ago at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I majored in political science. It hasn’t helped me stave off a deeper despair than I’ve ever felt before regarding our politics. Our democracy is in as much danger and pain as I’ve ever seen before. When I say, God help us these days, I really…

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The Escaped Gorilla and Brother David

What is a gorilla? Who says? My challenge for each of us is to listen to the poem I’ve recorded called “The Escaped Gorilla.” It’s written by the amazing poet, David Wagoner from his collection, “A Map of This Night.” I believe it challenges what we know about gorillas in a way that is both poignant…

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William Stafford on Brexit and Common Demagoguery

Oh, how the world could use a full dose of William Stafford at this critical moment. Though he died nearly 23 years ago, the trail this brilliant poet left behind burns so brightly and what’s at stake is so important that I want to hazard a guess on how he would make sense of recent…

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Adult Onset Poetry Syndrome

You may have it and not even know. Or simply not be aware that your malady has a name. For me, it has been over 25 years since I was stricken in the early prime of my adult life with Adult Onset Poetry Syndrome.   Symptoms: (Note: 3 or more symptoms mean you have it!)…

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Better Than Religion

That was better than religion… How satisfying it was to hear that feedback after one of my recent poetry-based presentations. And when I heard it a second and third time I was even more pleased. Now let me be clear, I take little credit for these comments, however I do believe in the power of…

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How To Pickle Yourself for Happiness and More…

One of the saddest things you’ll ever see are hundreds of people on a beautiful beach in Hawaii trying to be happy. Truth is, we can’t try, demand or force ourselves to be happy.   And we certainly can’t make ourselves be inspired or in love. Truth is, we do what we do and then…

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My Paradoxical Mother-in-Law (A Memorial Tribute)

Let me warn you this is not a typical memorial tribute, because its subject is anything but typical. You see, Helen Burgio was a force of nature in so many ways.   I particularly loved her sense of humor, though a few times when I teased her too hard or about the wrong things she…

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