One year ago, CHEST launched the poetry section “Pectoriloquy,” becoming only the fourth international medical journal to publish poetry. Given the uncertainties of how poetry would be received by its readers, whether they or others would submit to CHEST, and what the quality of such submissions would be, it was indeed a courageous journalistic trial.
The outcomes of that trial are informative. During this past year, more than 1,000 poems were submitted and read, from which 22 were published. For any poetry journal, such numbers and selectivity are extraordinary in a first year. The quality of the submissions was outstanding, attracting writers nominated for Pulitzer and Pushcart Prizes, winners of the Yale Younger Poets Series, and academicians in numerous English and creative writing departments. No one was accepted because of those distinctions, however, and no one was rejected because of their absence. Poems were read in a “blinded” method, the Editor unaware of the writer's CV.