Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

UHS’ Bynum finds health in writing poetry

Some say writing is the science of the heart.

Poetry and science are two disparate disciplines, but the Director of Behavioral Medicine and Principal Psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Mental Health Services has made a career out of both fields.

Edward Bruce Bynum PhD, A.B.P.P. is the recipient of the 2010 Naomi Long Madgett award, a nationally ranked poetry award for African-American poets who submit unpublished poetry manuscripts.

Bynum won the award for his submission, “Chronicles of the Pig and other Delusions.”

Bynum said the title comes from some of the poems in the collection, in addition to some ideas running through his head.

“Well, ‘Chronicles of the Pig’ comes from some poems in the collection. The other delusions are, well, the other poems,” he said.

The other poems are not only delusions, however, full of insights into another world – the space between creative style and scientific understanding.

Presented and published by Lotus Press, located in Detroit, Mich., the award is given once a year in the late November. Bynum was selected out of hundreds of submissions by Claude Wilkinson, a Mississippi resident and fellow African-American poet.

Bynum said he decided to submit his own work to be reviewed for the award. He said he feels the chances of winning are always very slim.

“It was a long shot. You have to be used to hearing ‘no,’” he said.

Over the years, he has submitted his work to many national poetry competitions, but described this as one of his proudest accomplishments, emphasizing how difficult it is to get poetry published.

Bynum received the unexpected phone call one evening.

“I was blown away; I was at the table with my wife, and it was the publisher of the house who called. I was very surprised and very pleased.”

As a psychologist, Bynum said reaching or working towards a creative side can be beneficial and helpful to understanding one’s self. He applies this discipline to his life and to his patients.

“Poetry can help people find their voice,” said Bynum.

He said being a poet and a health professional is no different than being “a poet, a baker, an engineer or a plumber, they might just as well be part of the arts. There is an expressive side to each personality. Mine just happens to be poetry,” he said.

Bynum began writing at a young age, but started to take poetry seriously as a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University.

“I was first published when I was in the third grade,” he mused.

His poetry stems from being “moved by lots of things,” and Bynum says his work is, “drawn to imagery and lyricism and the physical and psychological aspects that make us human.”

He described science as a way of understanding the human brain and human existence, but said the arts play an important role in understanding what composes people on an individual basis.

“Without the arts, it’s deadly. It’s all over,” Brown said, with a touch of wry wit.

Bynum takes inspiration from both modern and classic poetry. He describes his older influences as “a fusion of Pablo Neruda, Whitman, Langston Hughes and Ann Sexton. Each has something.”

Bynum said of current works and living literature that he reads “Charles Simic, James Tate, Gerrard Barrex and Derek Walcott.”

Bynum described poetry as something people can always come back to, leaving it alone for even years and returning when inspiration strikes.

Bynum has been with the University for 31 years and serves as lead psychologist. He is originally from Southern California and later New Hampshire, where he began his career at UMass in 1979.

As a professional at UMass, Bynum balances science and the creative process in what he describes as one cohesive way of looking at both aspects. In his daily work as a psychologist, he finds the need and room for creativity to thrive. Bynum has specialized in the psychology of dreams, and expressed how this area of study influences his creative works. 

“The need for a creative outlet allows for a surrealistic approach to the dream world in poetry.”

Currently Bynum is working on three writing projects, one in psychology and two creative writing works. He is the author of five books in psychology and three books of poetry. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, as well.

“Chronicles of the Pig and other Delusions,” includes what Bynum describes as “a collection of poems, loosely connected.”

Bynum’s award-winning collection divides into four sections, beginning with poems narrating the life of a pig, as Bynum connects the pig’s birth, life and death. The award came with a prize of $500 and publishing by Lotus Press.

Chelsea Whitton can be reached at

Leave A Comment