Professor’s Poem to be Honored at State Humanities Festival

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Sept. 29, 2011 – A poem by Coker College Professor of Spanish Cathy Cuppett will be recognized with an Honorable Mention award at the Medical Humanities Symposium of the 2011 Humanities Festival held in Sumter, S.C., Oct. 1-9.

Cuppett’s poem, "the surgeon's art," offers a patient-side glimpse of her experience with unexpected gallbladder surgery, a procedure that was performed laparoscopically.

“I was amazed that the scars left behind were so tiny,” said Cuppett. “Dr. Bannister was the surgeon, and I wrote the poem to honor his work and that of the surgical team.”

Submissions to the statewide competition, Medicine and Metaphors: Writing from the Heart, were judged by University of South Carolina Sumter writing instructor James Borton and his colleagues in the University’s English department.

“We received over 100 submissions, and many of the stories and poems still resonate with me,” said Borton. “Cathy's beautifully crafted poem appealed to me for its aesthetic quality but also because the scar on my chest from heart surgery serves as a daily reminder of my own brush with death.”

Cuppett joined the Coker College faculty in 1998.  In addition to serving on the Coker College board of trustees, Cuppett is the coordinator of the foreign language major.  She received a B.A. from Wheaton College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.  She has also studied at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City and at Fundación Ortega y Gassett in Madrid.

During her tenure at Coker, Cuppett has served on numerous committees for the College.  She currently serves on the Client Committee.  In 2009-10, Cuppett co-chaired the College’s Strategic Planning Committee. She also served on the Promotion and Tenure Committee and was chair of the committee during the final year, 2009-10, of her five-year term.

The University of South Carolina Sumter, with support from the Sumter County Cultural Commission, is hosting the symposium, Humanities and Medicine Across the Carolinas: Why Stories Matter, and an awards ceremony for selected submissions of poetry and prose in the University’s Arts and Letters building at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The symposium and awards ceremony are free and open to the public.  For more information, call Borton at 803-522-2324.



the surgeon’s art

for Dr. B.
and the surgical team

the signature, a tiny line
the human canvas bears the sign
of work invisible but fine

the strokes are bold, precise and clean
yet must this masterpiece unseen
lie veiled beneath the flesh pristine

this art - no florid, frescoed wall -
the surgeon serves a harder call
and strives to leave no trace at all




Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach. For more information contact Barb Steadman: 843-397-9959 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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