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Dawn McGuire is a neurologist and author of two poetry collections, Sleeping in Africa and Hands On. She grew up in Eastern Kentucky and was educated at Princeton University, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her scientific work is focused in two areas: developing biological and gene therapies for diseases such as Huntington's disease and Multiple Sclerosis; and in reducing disparities in stroke and other neurologic conditions. Her poems have appeared in various literary magazine and anthologies, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Journal of American Neurology. McGuire has won several poetry awards, including the Troubadour Prize (UK), the National League of American Pen Women, and the 2011 Sarah Lawrence/Campbell Corner Academy of Language Exchange Poetry Prize for "poems that treat larger themes with lyric intensity." She is Adjunct Professor of Neurology at the Neurosciences Institute of Morehouse School of Medicine, and divides her time between Atlanta and Northern California.


American Dream with Exit Wound


In this new collection by the awardwinning poet and neurologist DawnMcGuire, the American Dream is an ironic construct at the end of Empire. Here, returning soldiers bring “hazardous materials” home in their bodies and minds; while home is increasingly a battleground of addiction and disaffection.

In Limbics, the book’s middle section, the neurological “old brain” speaks. Jealousy, rage, and anxious intuition overwhelm all reason; while desire is that resistless force “by which we are inflamed, destroyed/and raised to aerial ash/again and again.”
In Ghosts, the final section, inevitable losses of love, will, memory, and capacity become the psyche’s “missing children”. They haunt us, and sometimes steal our names.

These poems confront deeper wounds in body, mind, and body politic, wounds that science can neither name nor remedy.
There is strong medicine here, transgressive and redemptive.


The Aphasia Cafe

Description: The poems in The Aphasia Cafe explore what it means to be human when the sense of self can no longer be communicated using spoken or written language. Dawn McGuire writes for the 'everyday' aphasias we all share: how we often can't say what we mean or mean what we say, our falling in the 'fault lines' of language, the threats to self-identity and meaning, in poems about family, bigotry, political and sexual violence, and the counterforces of love and redemption.