Adventitious Sounds

Adventitious Sounds

Edited by Zamina Mithani

A Chapbook for medical practitioners, learners and poets.


Candace de Taeye, Ivy Deavy, Annie Foreman-Mackey, Kaylie, Kathleen Klassen, Madeline McKenzie, Lori-Anne Noyahr, Savita Rani, Eleonore Schönmaier, Lauren Seal, Kimberley Thomas, James X. Wang, Laura Zacharin.

Now available for purchase!

From the introduction

The pieces in this collection offer the glimmer of emotion beneath creative line spacing and various nouns that draw attention to feelings of estrangement, pain, and loneliness in healthcare. Sometimes we can be looking at a life-altering moment and feel that we are not really there, but are instead, behind the glass walls of machinery, pharmacology, and diagnosis. And amid all of those variables, there are layers of sound. The sound of the bedside monitor taking vitals, the sound of chatter among teams of nurses and doctors, the sounds of family members, the sounds of wheels moving beds from one ward to another—and our own internal sounds. The pieces in this collection range from the sounds of an arrythmia, violence in the hospital, a medical history, a library review and so much more. They are a combination of our inner monologues and the way we hear our patients, and the way they hear us differently in return. 

The work of creating a medical community that represents its patient population happens when we share our stories to the world, just as patients share their stories to us. Thank you for helping us rebuild the soundscape of medicine, to include all the sounds we know, and inviting those from the outside—the adventitious—back in.

Zamina Mithani (she/her) is pursuing her Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree at the University of British Columbia and is a recent graduate of the Bioethics program at Harvard. She is passionate about research and education at the intersection of narrative, ethics, and clinical care. She gives workshops on issues on medical ethics across Canada and the US, and enjoys writing and publishing poetry in her free time. 

When listening to a lung, sounds that are not “normal breathing” are known as adventitious sounds. These sounds including rales, wheezes, and crackles—all nouns describing the way that air passes through openings that aren’t as permeable as they ought to be. However, the word adventitious, not only describes breathing pathology, but also means “coming from outside.”  

We, as in—Indigenous, Black, queer, migrant, disabled underhoused/low-income communities and more—are adventitious.  

To hear an adventitious sound, you need to listen (or “auscultate”, in the medical jargon) with a stethoscope. That is, you need to listen carefully, or know what you’re looking for, to notice the subtleties in how different people are treated, differently. And to truly understand these sounds, we also need to understand that not all clusters of population are discriminated in a monolith. As an example, migrant communities vary in English-speaking capacity, generations in Canada, white-passing behaviours and appearances, income, and geography. Migrant doctors, with various histories of immigration, vary similarly. The reason for focusing on sound instead of sight (or other senses) in both the title and in the content of the poems to this chapbook is to emphasize the wide heterogeneity of experiences of adventitious healthcare workers and avoid abstract census-boxes-type categories and languages. In other words, we want your specific experiences, what you hear in the clinic, what others say to you, and what you say to them. We want your kinship, tribe, religious, ancestral details, when you hear your patients in a different way than others, and when they hear you in return. We want the inner-monologues you have with yourself in the lunchroom, in your car, on the bus, at home, the moments of discrimination so nuanced that sometimes we do not even label them as such, we just know that something does not feel right. 

The purpose of this call for submission is to rebuild to soundscape of medical practitioners. Instead of abstract concepts of equity and diversity that are so easy to acknowledge but so difficult to internalize, this chapbook aims to collect poems and pieces that focus on the stories and sounds of various medical professionals. We want nouns and verbs. We want things that do not make sense, and things that do in your experience of the healthcare system. The work of creating a medical community that represents its patient population happens when we share our stories to the world, just as patients share their stories to us. We aim to hear the voices of the adventitious medical professionals, in the hope of furthering our aim to make Canada’s healthcare system more equitable. But to cure our inequity, we first need to hear what’s wrong. 

Types of Submission 

  • Poetry – any form, be creative. Primary language should be English, but other languages can be included within the piece. 
  • Auscultation – we invite writers to transcribe a piece of audio in their lives—a memory of a conversation, an inner monologue, excerpts from a dialogue, or anything you remember listening to, as tied into your experience of being in a marginal identity within healthcare. 


Who we’re seeking pieces from: 

  • Medical Learners (Medical School, Nursing School, Social Work…) 
  • Medical Professionals (Medicine, Medical Administration, Nursing, Social Work, IMG…) 
  • Adventitia – includes, but not limited to some of the following identities, hyphens, and communities 
    • Indigenous 
    • Black 
    • LGBTQ+ 
    • Visible religious minority 
    • First-generation immigrant 
    • Refugee 
    • Disabled 
    • Underhoused 
    • Low-income 

Submission Guidelines

  • Submissions are open to Canadian citizens and poets living and/or practicing in Canada.
  • All submissions must be in DOC, DOCX or PDF format.
  • Open to LCP members and non-members 
    • Members may submit up to 2 poems 
    • Non-members may submit 1 poem
  • Please complete the form in its entirety. If you have trouble with the form, contact [email protected]
  • We accept simultaneous submissions. If your piece is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately.
  • Poems must be unpublished.
  • Selected poets will receive a $25 honorarium per selected poem.
  • The focus of this submission is for medical professionals and learners. Patient confidentiality must be maintained. Please anonymize all your submissions and exclude any identifying information.
  • Deadline is October 7, 2022.

About the LCP Chapbook Series

The LCP Chapbook Series publishes fresh and exceptional Canadian poetry guided by various themes and forms to increase visibility and recognition for the various identities and intersections that contribute to the vibrant Canadian poetry community.

Collections from the LCP Chapbook Series are produced in a limited run and are lovingly hand-sewn by Nic Brewer.