Journals of a Visitor
poems by Fae Kayarian
Journals of a Visitor shares the intimate coming-of-age story of a young, queer woman trying to find her place in medicine. Inspired by true events at Harvard Medical School and its teaching hospitals, Fae Kayarian's autobiographical collection of poetry serves as a dose of narrative medicine and an homage to the body, heart and soul. Using medicine as a lens for story-telling, Journals of a Visitor honors the experiences that breathe meaning into our lives and celebrates the therapeutic power of writing one’s own narrative.
POETRY / General
ISBN: 978-1-951651-13-8 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Fae Kayarian currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is a medical scribe, researcher, poet, and writer. Inspired by physician-poets William Carlos Williams and Rafael Campo, Kayarian began to write medical poetry upon founding a novel volunteer program at Harvard Medical School, where she witnessed moments of love, loss, and joy at the bedside. Her obsession with narrative medicine officially took off when she became a clinical researcher, neurosurgery student-observer, and an emergency department medical scribe—thus, Journals of a Visitor was born. While her story is, so far, largely unwritten, Kayarian aspires to become a physician and to continue writing poetry that celebrates science, medicine, and love.
“Journals of a Visitor is wonderful! It is equal parts playful and serious but always heartfelt and sincere, inviting readers to see the world in a new way, sharing with readers the depth, difficulties, victories, defeats, camaraderie, and solitude of life in medicine. Having spent many hours in classrooms with those dedicated to a life in medicine, Fae’s poems capture for me so much of what makes those that pursue medicine and help people so admirable while showing the ways in which they are so human. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”
“Journals of a Visitor is a passion-piece; a lyric ballad of coming of age intellectually, academically, physically, and emotionally. Through verse, Fae Kayarian takes us upon her journey from childhood, through adolescence, and into blossoming adulthood. At each step, she affords the reader simultaneous views of the emotional and intellectual experiences that define the landscapes of her path toward self-realization, self-acceptance, and self-confidence. Her words paint vivid pictures of the first-person stirrings of body, heart, mind—and spirit—that define her discovery of identity, passions, and strengths. Taken piece by piece, it weaves a narrative of security borne from doubt; from certainty galvanized from wonder, and of character built from experience. But perhaps more than anything, when taken in its entirety, it is a love song and love story; of self, of wonder, of science, of curiosities sated and yet remaining, and of the joys that spring from following one’s heart.”
“It was a true gift to be able to read this. Ms. Kayarian’s work is so insightful and vulnerable; she displays so much maturity and courage in sharing her naked emotions. She reminds me of why I went into medicine and what I used to notice and observe about patients and the hospital but have since often brushed aside in the rush to see patient after patient. Thank you for inspiring me to take the time to embrace these moments in medicine again.”
“These thoughtful poems link graphic reality with symbolic metaphors. Fae Kayarian sensitively conveys with compassion and care the human experiences of life and death in medical settings. Facing this intersect between love and loss, with devotion to relate to the non-relating, she discovers herself and the healing might of love.”
“An inspiring journey of self-discovery, resilience and compassion.”
“Let’s tip a hat and dip a pen to Fae Kayarian. Being a scribe is one of the oldest and most honorable professions. The lines of her poetry are sharp in specifics of her personal and work experience. Yet she also uses broad strokes to depict universal themes of life and death, of love and loss. Some wounds are mortal, poets say of broken hearts. But medical research has confirmed that stress can weaken the heart. Words might help . . . poetry, I opine, can for sure. Much thanks to Fae Kayarian for the medicine of her words.”
“Getting to Know Fae Kayarian and Her New Book,” masspoetry.org (June 2020)
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