John Stone

Poet and essayist John Henry Stone was a four-time Georgia Writer of the Year, as well as an honored and beloved professor of cardiology at Emory University's School of Medicine.

As a poet, Stone discovered a way into "the territory of the heart," according to his fellow Georgia poet David Bottoms. "Reading the poems of John Stone is like getting a house call from an eminent physician of the spirit."

The Mississippi-born Stone came to poetry before medicine, having edited his high school and college literary magazines before taking his medical degree at Washington University inSt. Louis, Missouri. At roughly the same time that he joined the Emory medical school faculty in 1969, Stone attended the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont, where he would eventually return to serve as physician for three summers.

Stone's first book of poetry, The Smell of Matches, was published by Rutgers University Press in 1972. He was widely anthologized as a poet, and his work appeared in such publications as Poetry, The American Scholar New York Quarterly, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest. Stone's four subsequent collections of poetry -- In All This RainRenaming the StreetsWhere Water Begins, and Music from Apartment 8 -- were published in 1980, 1985, 1998 and 2004, respectively. The twenty-three essays of In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine (1990) earned Stone his fourth Georgia Writer of the Year Award, his first such honor for nonfiction.

Stone spent his medical career first as a faculty physician in cardiology at Grady Memorial Hospital, where he founded and directed the residency program in Emergency Medicine. Then, for the last 19 years, Stone was full-time faculty at Emory School of Medicine, where he was also associate admissions director.

Stone created one of the first medical school courses combining literature and medicine at Emory in 1993, and he wrote or coedited several medical texts.  On Doctoring, an anthology of literature and medicine edited by Stone, became a widely distributed work, presented to all students entering U.S. medical schools. Of the relationship between literature and medicine, Stone believess physicians and poets share an identical duty to listen to life and, by doing so, to find each story anew. In Stone's words, it is the duty "to be astonished."

Repeatedly honored for his teaching at Emory, Stone gave guest lectures at over 150 institutions, including Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Brown, and the Mayo Clinic. In 1992, Georgia Governor Zell Miller presented Stone with a Governor's Award for Service in the Humanities.

John Stone died of cancer in Atlanta, November 6, 2008.


The following titles may be found in the Hall of Fame Library:

In All This Rain. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.

In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine. New York: Delacorte Press, 1990.

In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine. New York: Dell Publishers,1992.

In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996.

January. A Flight of Birds. Winston-Salem: Palaemon Press, 1983.

Music From Apartment 8. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

On Doctoring: Stories, Poems and Essays. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Renaming the Streets. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985.

The Smell of Matches. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1972.

The Smell of Matches. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988.

Where Water Begins: New Poems and Prose. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998.

Manuscript Holdings

John Stone's papes are held by the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library of Emory University, Atlanta, where Stone spent nearly forty years on the medical school faculty,