A manuscript of poems by Celeste Lipkes, MD, MFA, third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been judged a semi-finalist for the 2019 Berkshire Prize, a national poetry contest sponsored by Tupelo Press.
The award recognizes an author’s first or second book of poetry and is highly competitive. Lipkes’ manuscript, Radium Girl, has been recognized in other contests, including as a finalist for the 2019 University of Wisconsin Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prize and a semi-finalist for the 2018 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.
Lipkes began writing poetry long before she arrived at Yale for residency, and her work has appeared in many publications. She has taught numerous poetry workshops and most recently led a writing workshop for patients at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven. She is now writing a series of lyric essays about medicine.
The title Radium Girl comes from a magic trick by the same name, in which a woman is locked in a tall, thin box and somehow emerges unharmed after steel rods and swords are plunged through holes in the box. Lipkes’ writing in Radium Girl combines personal experiences and her training in medicine with the history of various magic tricks.