LSU Vet Med hosts “An Evening of Poetry” as culmination of artist residency

April 23, 2024


Join us on Monday, April 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Library for “An Evening of Poetry” to culminate Dr. Brandon Kilbourne’s artist residency. This public literary reading is free and open to the public. Kilbourne will read poems composed during the residency and other previously published work. Dr. Julie Kane, Louisiana poet laureate from 2011-13, will speak.

Kilbourne is a poet and evolutionary biologist who serves as a research biologist and administrator at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany. His residency at LSU Vet Med ran from April 1 to April 30, 2024.

 Kilbourne's return to Louisiana and the LSU campus is a homecoming of sorts. Born in Houma, La., and raised in Lafayette, La., Kilbourne studied biological engineering at Louisiana State University and evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, where he earned his B.S. and Ph.D., respectively.

Dr. Clare Scully and Dr. Brandon KilbourneA widely published poet whose work focuses on the connection between art and science, Kilbourne met with and observed clinical, research, and teaching staff of LSU Vet Med. These immersive experiences formed the basis for him to craft new poems centered around the work and experiences of LSU Vet Med.

In addition to creating original works rooted in LSU Vet Med's mission, Kilbourne held five poetry-writing workshops for members of the LSU Vet Med and greater Baton Rouge communities. The workshops took place each Friday in April at noon in the LSU Vet Med Library and focused on science-based poems using various literary techniques. The workshops were open to everyone and offered free of charge.

"With guidance and simple frameworks, anyone will be able to craft a poem. There are similarities between how the natural sciences and the craft of poetry are approached," Kilbourne said.

Underpinning his workshops were Kilbourne’s views that both poetry and science are in search of new insights, poetry utilizing metaphor, juxtaposition, alliteration, to name a few devices, and science utilizing technological, methodological, and hypothesis-testing as its vehicles.

His workshops, themed "Poetry and Science: The Pursuit of Insights," drew out the similarities of science and poetry. Kilbourne gave examples of poetic devices and concluded each workshop with a writing prompt for participants to start a poem during the class. 

While other veterinary schools have commissioned art or invited musicians and filmmakers to campus for events and one-time projects, this trailblazing residency program hosts a different artist-in-residence at the veterinary school each year. Artists will represent multiple genres, for example, watercolor, photography, sculpture, filmmaking, poetry, and more.

"So much of what we do in veterinary medicine, at least on the clinical side, is art, the art of communication. It's fascinating to see how our artists-in-residence communicate their perception of what we're doing through their medium," said Dr. Jayme Looper, professor of veterinary radiation oncology.

The first of its kind in the U.S., the artist-in-residence program housed at a veterinary school began at LSU Vet Med in 2022. The inaugural artist was visual artist Shelby Prindaville of Sioux City, Iowa. Prindaville’s residency culminated with a public art exhibition at the vet school. The second resident was composer-musician Charlie Rauh of New York City. Rauh's residency produced an album of 13 songs and culminated with a concert featuring members of LSU's A Cappella Choir.

"You can't separate science and art. We're part of a whole system of humanity that absolutely includes the creative arts. This program really speaks to me. We have artists coming and have another avenue of communication to express all of the great things we do here through different media," said Rebecca Christofferson PhD, associate professor, Department of Pathobiological Sciences.

To read selected poems by our 2024 artist-in-residence, Brandon Kilbourne, go to 

Instagram: brandon_kilbourne_poetry

For more information about the LSU Vet Med Artist-in-Residency Program, contact Sandra Sarr, communications manager, at

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.