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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Maya Catherine Popa – 2015 Hippocrates Open First Prize poem – short-movie announcing the winner of Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine 2015 edition


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The First Prize in the Hippocrates Open Category was awarded to teacher and writer Maya Catherine Popa from New York City for a poem inspired by her neuroscientist great grandfather. In her poem, Maya Catherine Popa through the use of metaphors and philsophical concepts, talks about her grandfather’s struggle as a doctor during communism, rendering homage to both the medical, as well as humanist sides of Gr. T. Popa.

About her poem A Technique for Operating on the Past, Maya said: "There is something pleasantly elliptical about the fact that a neuroscientist relies on the very instrument that is the subject of his study. I had long wanted to write a poem about Gr.T. Popa, my great-grandfather, after whom the Medical University in Iași, Romania, is named. He worked on neuro-morphology in the 1930s and 40s, but his remarkable research was ultimately cut short in light of his anti-fascist, and anti-communist affiliations. That he was forced into hiding and died of a routine ailment while escaping the communists still seems a dark irony. In a way, writing this poem felt like a letter to him, an acknowledgement of that unfairness."

In her poem, Maya Catherine Popa portrays her grandfather both as a physician, as well as a philosopher, which is close to the galenic perspective of a doctor. In Galen’s perspective, a physician’s education should also include liberal arts.
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A short film (2:58 minutes) in which the winner of The First Prize in the Hippocrates Open Category is announced, followed by the winner reciting her poem.

The Hippocrates Initiative began in 2009 as the Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine for an unpublished poem on a medical subject. The Hippocrates Initiative now also includes the international Hippocrates Society for Poetry and Medicine, annual international symposia at which the Hippocrates awards are also presented, an international research forum for poetry and medicine, The Hippocrates Press, and workshops, the first held in Venice in September 2013.