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Rafael Campo
(1964 - living) U.S.A.

Rafael Campo

Physician, writer


Rafael Campo, M.D., essayist, and poet, was born in Dover, New Jersey, in a family of Cuban expatriates. He attended Amherst, followed by Harvard Medical School and a residency at UC San Francisco. He says he first felt the need to practice medicine as part of the need to write and to understand other human beings.

Campo has received the National Hispanic Academy of Arts and Sciences Annual Achievement Prize, the Pushcart Prize, a National Poetry Series award, and two Lambda Literary Awards.

He is the author of several books of poetry, including Diva (1999), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; What the Body Told (1996), winner of a Lambda Literary Award; and The Other Man Was Me: A Voyage to the New World (1994), winner of the National Poetry Series 1993 Open Competition; and The Healing Art: A Doctor's Black Bag of Poetry (2003).

Rafael CampoThe Poetry of Healing (1996), his collection of prose, also received a Lambda Literary Award for Memoir. In this book, Rafael Campo explores his coming-of-age as a gay Cuban-American physician. He presents us with a series of stories illuminating his childhood and college experience, skillfully interweaving them with narratives from his life as a young physician, especially his interactions with patients dying of AIDS.

We follow the author from Amherst College, through Harvard Medical School, to his medical residency in San Francisco. He discovers his identity as a gay man, an Hispanic man, a poet, and, finally, as a healer - not four identities, but one. He discovers, too, the healing power of connecting with patients, the "poetry of healing," something far different from the orthodox image of the physician-as-detached-or-distanced from his patients.

He recently received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Echoing Green Foundation. Dr. Campo teaches at Harvard Medical School and is an associate at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


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