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Gerard Sarnat

Gerard Sarnat

Gerard Sarnat is a poet, physician, executive, academic, and social activist

Gerard Sarnat is a poet, physician, executive, academic, and social activist.

Medical Career

Sarnat graduated from Harvard College in 1967, received his MD from Stanford Medical School in 1972, and did his residency at Harvard's Beth Israel Hospital and Stanford Medical Center. His area of expertise is the measurement/reward of the healthcare value equation in organized prepaid health systemsHe retired from internal medicine in 1966, but continued on with the international board of the New Israel Fund and as a volunteer at the Urban Ministry, a homeless shelter in Palo Alto, where he set up and staffed a medical clinic. He then began writing poetry as an expression of his work with the homeless..

Poetry collections

A virginal poet at the age of seventy-four, Gerard Sarnat has written four poetry collections:

  • Homeless Chronicles from Abraham to Burning Man (2010)
  • Disputes (2012)
  • 17s (2014)
  • Melting the Ice King (2016)

Sarnat has used the pen name Gesundheit Sarnatzky, based on a persona he created in his first book, Homeless Chronicles from Abraham to Burning Man. The nom de plume derives from his great-great grandparents, Nahum and Yente Sarnatzky, and his great-great-grandfather, High Rabbi of Warsaw, Jacob Ben Isaac Gesundheit.


Since 2008, Sarnat has been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, Northampton Review, New Haven Poetry Institute, Texas Review, Vonnegut Journal, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, and The New York Times, as well as by Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Chicago and Columbia presses.

Sarnat's sequence, Kaddish For The Country, was selected for distribution as a pamphlet in Seattle on Inauguration Day 2017 as well as the next morning as part of the Washington, D.C., and nationwide Women's Marches.

Sarnat and his wife appeared in the 6 October 2016 New York Times photo essay “The Desert Trippers: Old, Young, Nostalgic and Adventurous” about a three-day concert featuring Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, The Who, and Roger Waters.

Sarnat has worked with senior Los Angeles School poets, including Michelle Bitting, Laurel Ann Bogen, Suzanne Lummis and William Mohr.

Poetry Awards
  • San Francisco Poetry Contest, in 2020
  • Poetry in the Arts First Place Award, in 2008
  • The Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize, in 2008
  • Nominations for Puschcarts and Best of Net Awards
Radio interviews

Sarnat was invited to perform radio interviews including the Jane Crown Show and The Poetry Show and readings including Beyond Baroque that are available as NPR and iTunes podcasts.



Further Resources


Gerard Sarnat


April 4, 2010


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