No pharmacist is an island, entire of itself…

Roby Hill
January 06, 2021
Kristen Bordner ’24, one of the Poetry Project students in Intro to Pharmacy Practice

Start with the Dixie Chicks. Add some Beatles, a dash of Coldplay, stir in some “Taxi Driver” and “Finding Nemo,” then Salt n Pepa to taste. The recipe somehow captures the hopes and fears of a couple facing infertility.

The poem “Still Have to Try” by Kristen Bordner is an example of the work done by MUSC College of Pharmacy students in the Poetry Project, part of the “Intro to Pharmacy Practice” course taught by clinical associate professor Kristy Brittain. Each student wrote a poem of at least 16 lines with each line coming from a different work of art, creating a narrative about something health care related.

The class held an online poetry reading on December 4. The poems addressed topics like breast cancer, addiction, pain, life as a pharmacist, alopecia, dementia, leukocytes, and even suppositories.

One poem about alcoholism used lines from different works of famed alcoholic Edgar Allan Poe. Another about childbirth used all lyrics from Queen. The emotional impact ranged from intensely personal to observational to witty.

“Our students are very clever and very creative,” said Brittain. “The outcomes of this project always surprise me, both with what they share and the way they craft their work. It’s a great exercise for building research skills in the kind of collaborative environment in which they’ll practice. It’s also great for self-expression and patient empathy.”

The Poetry Project was the brainchild of clinical assistant professor Anthony DeClue ’16, who earned a master’s degree in English from Clemson and taught rhetoric there before coming to MUSC for his Pharm.D. The project combines humanities and health care in a way that helps students build a skill set they need for scientific research:

·         Survey the contributions made to a field

·         Build on the work that has been made

·         Add something new and valuable

·         Maintain your own voice while citing others

At the same time, it gives students the chance to be creative and interactive with their favorite artists about a topic that matters deeply to them.

So, just how did Bordner turn all of her disparate ingredients into a delicious dish? Get a taste of it below. Naturally, you’ll need your “Jaws.”

Still Have to Try
By Kristen Bordner

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
Something a woman is born to do
I want you so bad
What we've got here is failure to communicate
Eggs and Sausage and a side of toast

Listen to the doctor
Infertility is a word that a lot of people are ashamed to mention
You talking to me?
As if!

But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start
Give me that stuff
Not falling in love but I’m falling for your super sperm
I yelled he’s mine that one
So don’t sweat it just let it slide
Just keep swimming
He said…
You’re gonna need a bigger boat
Failure! Failure
This is the closest we will ever come to love


Coldplay. “Fix you.” X&Y. Atlantic Records; 2005.
Dixie Chicks. “So hard.” Taking the Long Way. Columbia Records; 2006.
Bob Dyland. “I want you.” Blonde on Blonde. Columbia Records; 1966.
Rosenberg, S. Cool Hand Luke [Film]. United States: Jalem Productions; 1967.
Tom Waits. “Eggs and Sausage.” Nighthawks at the Diner. Anti Records; 1975.
The Doobie Brothers. “The Doctor.” Cycles. Arista Records; 1989.
Lady Saw. “No less than a woman (Infertility).” Walk Out. VP Records; 2007.
Scorsese, M. Taxi Driver [Film]. United States: Columbia Pictures; 1976.
Rudin, S. Clueless [Film]. United States: Paramount Pictures; 1995.
The Beatles. “Drive my car.” Rubber Soul. Apple Records; 1965.
Rick James. “Give it to me baby.” Street Songs. Motown Records; 1981.
Salt n Pepa. “Shoop.” Very Necessary. Next Plateau Records; 1993.
Rodney Atkins. “He’s Mine.” Take A Back Road. Curb Records; 2011.
Rodney Atkins. “Just Wanna Rock n’ Roll.” Take A Back Road. Curb Records; 2011.
Walters, G. Finding Nemo [Film]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar; 2003.
Joey Djia. “He Said.” Enough. Djia Media; 2018.
Spielberg, S. Jaws [Film]. United States: Universal Pictures; 1975.
Breaking Benjamin. “Failure.” Dark Before Dawn. Hollywood Records; 2015.
Collins, S. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press; 2009.


About the Author

Roby Hill

Keywords: College News