Poetic Side-Effects


A 76-year-old woman suffering from epileptic seizures was placed on medication with an unusual side-effect: the compulsion to write poetry. The condition, known as hypergraphia, led the woman to write 10 to 15 poems per day. Her urges have since lessened, but persist.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →