Irène P. Mathieu

twitter:  @gumbo_amando

Dr. Irène P. Mathieu is a pediatrician, writer, and public health researcher who has lived and worked in the United States, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, and elsewhere. Irène knew that she wanted to be a writer from a very early age, but discovered her passion for medicine while involved in global health work in college. A firm believer that healing should be interdisciplinary, she holds a BA in International Relations from the College of William & Mary and a MD from Vanderbilt University. She has been a fellow of the Fulbright Program and the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop.

A member of Jack Jones Literary Arts’ speakers bureau, Irène is fascinated by the embodiment of experiences and their transmission across generations. By what bio-spiritual mechanisms do we inherit both our strengths and our traumas? What language might help us talk more honestly about how we relate to the land and each other? Her work draws on science and invented mythology to explore intersections of privilege and oppression, racism/racialization, and ecopoetics.

Irène is the author of orogeny (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017), which won the Bob Kaufman Book Prize, and the galaxy of origins (dancing girl press, 2014). She has won Yemassee Journal‘s Poetry Prize, received Honorable Mention and Editor’s Choice awards in the Sandy Crimmins National Poetry contest, and been a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. She serves on the editorial staff of Muzzle Magazine as a poetry book reviewer, and is an editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine‘s humanities section, “The Living Hand.”

As a primary care doctor and academic pediatrician, Irène’s medical work is centered on community-engaged research, (global) child health advocacy, medical education, and social determinants of health. She thinks a lot about how diverse methodologies of storytelling in both of her fields – from qualitative public health research to persona poems – might help us to create more inclusive narratives. Recently she’s been working on a new poetry manuscript about the lives of New Orleans Creole women in the mid-twentieth century, which is loosely based on family history, as well as a young adult novel.

Irène loves traveling, photography while traveling, cooking, salsa and bachata dancing, hiking/running around in the woods, and reading. Lately she’s been immersed in the poetry of Analicia Sotelo, E.J. Koh, Rita Dove, and William Carlos Williams; the stories of Jesmyn Ward, Haruki Murakami, and Carmen Maria Machado; and the essays of James Baldwin and Nawal El Saadawi. She and her partner are the proud parents of a dog-son named Watts Chufle Reid, who is featured often on her Twitter feed as well as in some recent (as yet unpublished) poems.


books: orogeny & the galaxy of origins 

selected publications: