Like her earlier collection, Words Like Fate and Pain (see this database), the thread of connection among these exquisite poems is the experience of chronic suffering. However the poems vary widely in focus and content, including those that touch on the intimacies of love found and lost, family relationships, musings on the road, political events, philosophical ideas, and qualities of words themselves. All open doors to an inner life deeply examined and thoughtfully lived. The poems deal frankly not only with the experiences of various kinds of pain, but with pain remembered and feared, with the mental detachment that enables one in pain not only to endure, but even at times to be playful about the business of living life in spite of ongoing suffering.

One is aware of the speaker in these poems as not only a patient, but as a writer who loves words, a woman who enters wholeheartedly into the relationships life puts in her path, and an observer with a wry wit and sharp sense of irony. Poem titles include "Cripple Time," "Trauerarbeit," "Phantom Life," "The Mind, That Ocean," "Pain as Metaphor," "Sleeping in My Notebook," "One, With Egg Roll," and "Waltzing the Gorilla."


This collection is a rich treasury of images and reflections that bears much rereading. The writer, who lives with CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome) and severe osteoarthritis, has a Ph.D. in philosophy and an M.F.A. in poetry. Her words about living with pain are beautifully crafted, elegant, sharp, unsparingly truthful, and at times almost jarring in their beauty. A wonderful resource for anyone dealing with pain, or with others' pain.


Univ. of North Texas Press

Place Published

Denton, Texas



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