How to Save a Life: Healing Power of Poetry

Many of us who are focused on caring for others, whether inside or outside of healthcare, lose sight of the need to care for ourselves. The fact is that all humans need self-care. For over 40 years Dr. Barbara Loeb was such an individual. Caught up in her life as a physician, leader, partner, daughter, and mother she failed to stop and reflect on her life, making things much harder than they had to be and leading to burnout.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, for her, just like for so many others, the need for self-care became more urgent. In her new book “How to Save a Life: Healing Power of Poetry,” Dr. Loeb explores and redefines her path as a healer. She utilizes the principles of presence, reflection, self-awareness, and self-compassion to place words in her poetry that describe universal experiences we can relate to. In this way, she invites us to travel on our own healing journey. Her ultimate aim is to inspire the reader to find their own path to well-being which is often paired with self-expression and creativity.

Each chapter is illuminated by the artwork of the author’s late mother, Judy “Salsa” Loeb.


“Barbara Loeb’s collection, How to Save a Life: Healing Power of Poetry, reminds us of the timeless urgency of healing- to help others even with the knowledge of our transient identities, to enter life fully, to open to the gifts of now, and to know the potential of our lived moments. In beautiful words and images drawn from her observations and experiences of the natural, imagined, manufactured, and human worlds, Barbara points us toward opening our hearts, renewing our sense of awe and wonder, and finding our ways back home to right here, for the only moments we have to live and love, connect and heal.”

Michael Krasner, MD, Professor of Medicine

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Co-founder of “Mindful Practice”


” ‘How To Save a Life’ is a truly moving collection of poetry and art, sensitively written, carefully arranged, and beautifully presented. As Barbara faced her own challenges and nurtured self-awareness, she found solace, healing, and peace of mind through poetry. We are privileged to be able to walk with her in that journey, and though doing so, are naturally drawn to find the inner wellspring of peace, love, healing, and wholeness within us – the only place left to look for many of us. This book, lovingly written by Barbara, is a gem. Highly recommended!”

Shamash Alidina

Author of The Mindful Way Through Stress & Mindfulness for Dummies