This collection by a physician-poet covers a wide spectrum in topic and tone. The poems in the first of the four sections speak in voices of those waiting surgical outcomes, those whose loved ones are about to undergo invasive and dangerous procedures, those who are coming to terms (partly clinical terms) with death. The poems in the second section focus more explicitly on Jewish experience, and on experiences of suffering that take place in the wider context of biblical tradition and recent history.

The third section features lighter-hearted poems, many rhymed, that make playful reference to moments in domestic life and relationship which, while not free of suffering and anxiety, are also the stuff of laughter. The fourth focuses on love--erotic, romantic, familial--and death, which includes the ordinary losses that living through time entails. Elegiac, wistful, musing, and poignant, they end the collection in a complex, sustained key that holds an elegant tension between sorrow and hope.


The emotional range of the poems in this collection testifies to the complexity of living with and through the sorrows of the body--one's own body and those of the people one loves. The speakers in the poems represent a variety of points of view; taken together they shine spotlights from very different angles on shared experiences of pain, loss, and suffering. The audacity of hospital poems in which clinical terms and graphic description challenge the reader not to turn away is tempered and complemented by the playfulness of love poems to children and spouses and by poems that imagine their way into other people's stories. A rich collection--one that might serve as a resource for readers in almost any stage of coping with the hard parts of living together in fallible and failing bodies.


Mellen Poetry Press

Place Published

Lewiston, N.Y.



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