Summary

This is a collection of poems about patients, written by a young physician in the late 1960's. The book is organized around the theme of a hospital ward. Each poem is named for a patient and has the patient's disease as its subtitle. The poet composed this work during his own illness, when (as he says in the Introduction) "my patients reappeared to me and I lived again in my mind all the many emotions we experienced together."

Commentary

K. D. Beernink died of chronic myelocytic leukemia at the age of 31 in 1969. In these poems he recounts his experiences as a medical student and house officer. He uses a variety of forms and techniques, including rhyme, blank verse, haiku, and even one villanelle. The poems vary in quality and impact. Among the best are "Penny Brown" (rheumatic heart disease), "Theodosus Bull" (delerium tremens), "Anonymous" (spontaneous abortion), and "Minnie Freeme" (postnecrotic cirrhosis).

Publisher

Washington Square East

Place Published

Wallingford, Pa.

Edition

1970