Ra­di­ol­o­gist-poet finds pat­terns in medicine, lan­guage

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

In honor of Na­tional Po­etry Month, Out­liers of­fers the story of Dr. Amit Ma­j­mu­dar, a Dublin, Ohio, physi­cian who’s also an ac­com­plished poet.

Ma­j­mu­dar comes from a fam­ily of doc­tors, and he felt com­pelled to fol­low the fam­ily tra­di­tion. “I had to keep up with the Ma­j­mu­dars. ... It was just the fam­ily pro­fes­sion,” the ra­di­ol­o­gist told Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio. “I think that if they owned a restau­rant, I would’ve taken over the restau­rant. If they’d been lawyers, I’d be a lawyer right now.”

Ma­j­mu­dar is also the state of Ohio’s first poet lau­re­ate, ap­pointed by Gov. John Ka­sich. Ma­j­mu­dar told NPR that while grow­ing up in In­dia and the U.S., he never knew where he fit in. But then he dis­cov­ered the li­brary, and felt com­fort­able among books.

Ma­j­mu­dar said he started writ­ing po­etry at age 11 or 12. The bridge be­tween lan­guage and medicine, he said, is in pat­terns. He views po­etry as pat­tern speech, and as a ra­di­ol­o­gist, while view­ing X-rays and CT scans, he is trained to see things that dis­rupt a pat­tern, such as a stroke, can­cer, or trauma.

Ma­j­mu­dar said his fam­ily mem­bers are not nec­es­sar­ily po­etry fans but are “over the moon” about his be­ing named Ohio poet lau­re­ate.

His lat­est col­lec­tion of po­etry is called Dot­head. He said he used the racial slur for In­di­ans in an at­tempt to “re­take” it.

The term “‘dot­head’ ac­tu­ally re­lates to some­thing very beau­ti­ful and elo­quent re­lated to Hindu sym­bol­ism,” he said, re­fer­ring to the bindi Hindu women wear on their fore­heads. “It has this re­li­gious mean­ing for me. So I wanted to take it back, and I wanted to make a poem out of it.”

Ma­j­mu­dar said all the doc­tors in his fam­ily are proud of his poetic ac­com­plish­ments.

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