Poet turns healthcare workers’ stories into personalized poems – archyde


As a Certified Auditor Poet, Salaam Green with UAB Arts in Medicine works with UAB professionals to create poems based on their experiences for National Poetry Month in April.

Malcolm Marler
Photography: Amanda Chambers
An artist creates poems after listening to healthcare workers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham tell stories about their experiences.

Salaam Green, Artist-in-Residence with UAB Arts in Medicine, is a Certified Auditor Poet. Through the Listener Poet program, poets provide a space for people to share whatever is on their mind, which is returned to them through a personalized poem. A writer and storyteller, Green leads healing writing workshops for AIM.

For National Poetry Month in April, UAB Arts in Medicine invites people to participate in Poet Listener sessions. Green meets with medical professionals, including Rodney Tucker, MD, director of the Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, and Malcolm Marler, leadership support specialist for UAB Medicine, to create the poems. The goal is to have 10 completed poems posted to an online gallery, which will include text and audio, as well as backstory.

The program started at UAB with healthcare staff, but has expanded to include anyone working at UAB. To join a Listener Poet session with Green, email [email protected]

Objective Salaam GreenSalam green These sessions provide spaces for clinicians and others to connect with their thoughts and emotions, be heard deeply, and receive the gift of a poem. The published poems connect the UAB community and provide a sense of universality and normalization to people experiencing similar issues.

Marler says he is so grateful for the poem Green wrote for him.

“The poem Salaam wrote about my pandemic experience from a brief interview was emotionally healing and gave me the opportunity to come out of my experience to learn important lessons for the future,” said Marler said.

Green is an award-winning poet and author, a 2020-21 Eco-Poetry Fellow, a Reimagining Justice Fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the 2016 Poet Laureate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and a New Economy Coalition Climate Solutions Fellow. Green’s work has appeared in The Birmingham Times, Scalawag, Bust, Feminist Review, Black Youth Project, Elephant Journal, Southern Women’s Review, AL.com, Birmingham Arts Journal and more.

Screenshot 2022 04 05 at 16.18.55Excerpt from one of Green’s poems.The Good Listening Project began when co-founder Frankie Abralind combined his passion for healthcare with his hobby of writing personalized poetry for the people he spoke to on the streets in Washington, D.C. Abralind has quickly understood that the gift he offered was listening. When attentive listeners hold space, people feel heard and understood, and the experience is often cathartic. The Listener Poet program, which envisions a resilient world where all people experience connection and belonging, was launched in 2018. It offers in-person and distance healing arts programs to organizations across the continent. They have worked with over 25 partners, including leading medical institutions.

UAB Arts in Medicine is a partnership between UAB Medicine and UAB Visual and Performing Arts, and underscores UAB’s commitment to patient-centered care. Launched in 2013, the program provides services on a rotating schedule to a growing number of UAB medical units. AIM strives to transform the care environment and improve wellness and healing through creative artistic experiences for patients, families and staff. Integrating the arts into the healthcare environment has been shown to benefit patients and caregivers by reducing stress levels, reducing perceived pain, improving mood, distracting from problems medical and increased self-expression and self-confidence.


Comments are closed.