NEOMED’s William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition is a national competition for medicine students, now in its 36th year. The contest is named for the American poet-physician who worked as a family doctor in Rutherford, New Jersey.

In April, the University held an event celebrating this year’s top three winners, from the University of Arizona College of Medicine–Tucson; the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell (New York); and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

A poem by second-place winner Adam Lalley, a second-year student at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, follows.



As the sea takes the shape of its anger,
blood’s form is its motion.
It is a moment and not a thing.

Silty like a river’s bottom, a million globes
grow into a breath, bear electric stone,
and bloom in the coral of our lips.

Not by your bidding, you have healed.
The green weeds between knuckles are
the purpose of our heart’s creation.

Its abundance is what we fear – salt droplet of our thumb –
should it turn the weapon of its making on us
and drown us in ourselves.

See all poems from the 36th annual William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition. 


From left in photo above, first-place winner Sean McEvoy; third-place winner Poorna Sreekuman; second-place winner Adam Lalley; Professor of Family and Community Medicine Delese Wear; and administrative coordinator Ann Williams

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