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Poetry

Learning to Heal

and | Filed under: Literature & Literary Criticism, Literature & Medicine, Medicine, Poetry, Recent Releases
Learning to Heal by Jeanne Bryner and Cortney Davis. Kent State University Press

What is it like to be a student nurse? What are the joys, the stresses, the transcendent moments, the fall-off-your-bed-laughing moments, and the terrors that have to be faced and stared down? And how might nurses, looking back, relate these experiences in ways that bring these memories to life again and provide historical context for how nursing education has changed and yet remained the same?

In brave, revealing, and often humorous poetry and prose, Learning to Heal explores these questions with contributions by nurses from a variety of social, ethnic, and geographical backgrounds. Readers meet a black nursing student who is surrounded by white teachers and patients in 1940, a mother who rises every morning at 5 a.m. to help her family ready for their day before she herself heads to anatomy class, and an itinerant Jewish teenager who is asked, “What will you become?” These individuals, and many other women and men, share personal stories of finding their way to nursing school, where they begin a long, often wonderful, and sometimes daunting, journey.

 


Fugue Figure

| Filed under: Poetry, Recent Releases, Wick First Book
Fugue Figure by Michael McKee Green. KSU Press

The book states plainly that both its speaker and the speaker’s mother have suffered near-deadly head injuries (“when I woke up in the hospital thirty years after you did,” “my head: / rotting pear”), resulting in loss of memory. However, rather than let a taxonomy like “family curse” sit unquestioned, Green writes toward the fugues (i.e., the condition of having one’s identity questioned) by making a kind of fugue (i.e., interweaving song). Johnathan Culler writes that “the fundamental characteristic of the lyric . . . is not the description and interpretation of a past event, but the iterative and utterable performance of an event in the lyric present, in the special ‘now’ of lyric articulation.” The lyric in Fugue Figure allows the unspeakable past to be uttered in the lyric present, and the form of diptychs and triptychs through the book place disparate lyric utterances together on the same page. While lyric addresses allow the reader to reach toward the speaker’s unknowns, the triptychs and diptychs allow the reader to reach toward the unnamable place between left and right signifiers, both adding to the vital enigma of the poems.

 


Cadence

| Filed under: Poetry, Recent Releases, Wick Chapbook
Cadence Cover

Having children fundamentally disrupts and remakes us, in terms of body, identity, perspective, and voice. The world shrinks and exponentially expands. Our already-fraught human experience of time is shredded and magnified.

Cadence captures the poet’s point of view as a new mother, reveling in a position of heightened vulnerability and ferocity. The poems in this chapbook are breathless, hyper­attentive to others’ needs, and equally in love with earthliness and repulsed by the monstrousness we enact/bear witness to.

 


Lincoln’s Lover

| Filed under: Explore Women's History, Literature & Literary Criticism, Poetry, Recent Releases
Emerson Cover

In his Poetics, Aristotle said a historian and a poet do not differ from each other—one simply writes in verse and the other in prose. In fact, history and poetry have a long connection; much of what we know about ancient history throughout the world came to us through the centuries and millennia as epic poetry purporting to tell the stories of great men and events. The two genres also create a fascinating juxtaposition when each views one through the lens of the other. To consider the life of a historical person through poetry is both to see that person for who they were and to consider who that person could have, or even should have, been in a more poetically perfect world.

 


Even Years

| Filed under: Poetry, Recent Releases, Wick First Book
Gosnay Cover

“The poems in Christine Gosnay’s first book, Even Years, speak with a voice that animates and astonishes us as they delineate and explore, trace and explode, the ‘order of shapes in the light’—the order of words, of moments in a life, of shifts in perspective between the ‘cleave and / Cleave’ of language. In these piercing and evocative poems we see, as in the poems of Stevens and Dickinson, ‘The back of the eye / where it has been struck by all things’ (‘N-gram’).

 


Human Voices Wake Us

| Filed under: Literature & Medicine, Medicine, Poetry, Recent Releases
Winakur Cover

Doctors today are struggling: debt, divorce, substance abuse, burnout, suicide. They succeed or fail on professional treadmills; patient encounters measured out with coffee spoons. The doctor-patient relationship is crumbling. Bureaucratic and corporate masters make their never-ending arguments of insidious intent. The overwhelming questions: Now where to turn? How do physicians—and their patients—avoid being crushed by the demands of science, of perfection, of expectations? How do we recover the awe we once felt in this world in which we expend our life force every day? How can we find joy once more?

 


Punctum:

| Filed under: Poetry, Recent Releases, Wick Chapbook
Jenike cover

“In Punctum:, Lesley Jenike’s new collection, she writes, ‘It’s our language: what can we call a thing / that is and is not.’ These poems are haunted by a ‘non-child,’ a child who was not to be born, and with it, a life the speaker was not to live. Absence itself becomes a nearly tangible presence. I don’t know how Jenike does it—breaks your heart and makes you want more—but I can’t remember the last time I read poems as smart and sure and devastatingly precise in their language, imagery, and feeling. In a poem about a fateful ultrasound, one that reveals no fetal heartbeat, she writes, ‘the doctor calls it “practice,” snapping off // the screen, tearing up the spit-out photograph. / “Next time,” she says, “it’ll be the real thing.”’ Mark my words: these poems are—and this poet is—the real thing. Punctum: is a remarkable accomplishment.”
—Maggie Smith

 


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