Ars Medica is a biannual literary journal, started in 2004, that explores the interface between the arts and healing, and examines what makes medicine an art. Ars Medica remains the only medical literary journal in Canada, and one of a handful of such journals in the world, in the rapidly developing international field of the humanities in healthcare.

Ars Medica allows a place for dialogue, meaning-making, and the representation of experiences of the body, health, wellness, and encounters with the medical system. Content includes narratives from patients and health care workers, medical history, fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. We also include sections on writing by and about children, and writing about international health. These are voices that are often silenced in healthcare.

New @ Ars Medica

By Jay Baruch

The physician sweeps a final, downcast eye over the body tucked between white sheets. silver hair combed into a sharp part. Aftershave lingering in the lamplight.
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By Mark Silverberg

David Morris (1991), the eminent theorist of pain’s historical and cultural life, has argued that chronic pain may well be the “characteristic malady of our time” (pp. 65-66), as leprosy and plague were for the medieval world, madness for the renaissance, and tuberculosis for the romantic era.
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By Paul Shore

The medieval monastery or convent was characterized by specific patterns of sound. Within it were spaces dedicated to particular functions, each of which generated patterns of sound that changed over time. the library, for example, started as a place of considerable noise, as readers pronounced aloud the texts before them; it later grew quieter, as silent reading became the norm.
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By Linda Rosenbaum

With our six-year-old Michael in tow, robin and i trudged off to the child development clinic at the hospital for sick children. dr. Wendy roberts and several members of her staff spent an entire day with Michael—interviewing him, reviewing his medical and growth charts, testing his cognitive and neurological abilities, measuring social interactions and developmental milestones.
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By Lisa Carrie Goldberg

“Structuring somnolence: Sleep science technology as a medium for drawing with the Body at rest” is an investigation into the fields of sleep science and art. 

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By Saleem Idris Razack

In this account of a helicopter medical evacuation in which he accompanied his critically ill Mother, this intensive physician reflects on the intersections of critical illness with identity, and the threat to identity that critical illness can pose.  The author explores themes meaning-making and identity in the setting of the multiply displaced in a globalized world, and the relevance of seeking to understand this experience for health professionals caring for diverse populations.  Themes commonly attributed to post-colonial literature, such as negotiating sub-altern status, the fluidity of geography and history, and the contextual nature of belonging and identity are explored as means to appreciate the relational nature of health professionals' caring for patients.
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By Colette Malo

At her mother's hospital bedside, the author receives the news that her mother might not be leaving the hospital alive.

Faced with possible life prolonging options for her mother, the author must decide on the kind of life her mother would want to live.

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By A. Rooney

All she ever wanted was to do hair and then go home. Aleen never wanted to own the HairHaven.
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By Amitha Kalaichandran

We waltz as she guides me through the broad strokes of her mind

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By Chris Bolin

The language of the medical profession involves, of course, the nomenclature of the body—and it involves the nomenclature of the undoing of the body. It is a language as equally steeped in presence as in absence. Like poetry, it is a language that finds evidence for itself—and, like poetry, it finds much of its evidence in the “data of the moment."
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By Jean M. Cook

Thursday afternoon

Jim is dying and we are watching. Watching from his bedside to see whether his eyes really focus on our faces as he turns his head to greet us. Watching to see him extend his right forefinger to answer yes to his wife Marian. Yes, he knows David and Jean are here.
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By Jewel Fraser

My sister Andrea was already thirteen years old when i first got to know of her existence, ten years younger than I.  My father had kept her a secret from my siblings and me — odd considering he had three other children out of wedlock, one of whom grew up with us in the same household.

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By Janette Ayachi

A Venus twin slumps forward

in her tangerine dress and turquoise wings,

peeling a hazel branch with a slumberous stare.


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By Ben Margolis

“What’s wrong wit’ you?” asked the shopkeeper.

     “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with me,” scowled Mr. Jackson as a flap of skin unfolded across his chest. Hinged at the side like an armoire door to Mr. Jackson’s body, the flap opened at the breast bone, curling outward towards his left arm.

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By Kurt Rheinheimer

She met him at the candy store, and didn’t find out till weeks later that it was the only time either of them had ever been in it.
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By Bryan Sisk

Home for the holidays,
a ten hour drive.
My first time seeing grandma
in over a year.
dad says she has faded,
the amyloid plaques invading her memory
day by day.
i see her at the family dinner,
shockingly frail,
hardly the person who helped to raise me.
Full text: PDF

By Melissa Cofer

How far should I chase you?

the air is
heavy with heat.
tender geranium leaves
dry becoming bitter
brown, discarding
scarlet petals.

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By Rita Ariyoshi

 “I’m going to apply for a license to kill.” Stokes stood in the doorway gripping a bucket of rags. It was five-thirty and he had just finished cleaning his van.

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By Robert Oldshue

A writing teacher once told me that he'd written (and sold) a half dozen articles, all different but all about the same event. He said that a teenaged girl had been injured in a car accident and had lain comatose in the hospital for several months before recovering.
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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Munk School of Global Affairs, and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Canada Council for the Arts
Munk School of Global Affairs
Mount Sinai Hospital