Sunday, February 19, 2006

What I've been reading lately:

American Family Physician (it's free, online, and searchable). Featuring "Chronic Plaque Psoriasis" and its treatment, including pictures!

Families, Systems, & Health: The Journal of Collaborative Family Health Care. Including an essay by Johanna Shapiro entitled "Poetic License: Writing Poetry as a Way for Medical Students to Examine Their Professional Relation Systems." Heady stuff.

Literature and Medicine. It's a journal out of Johns Hopkins, with academic articles on a subject near and dear to my heart. My favorite one this issue: "Interventional Narratology: Form and Function of the Narrative Medical Write-Up" by James Hunter Wood.

The Hypochondriac's Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have, Dennis Diclaudio. This was really silly, and really funny, if it weren't so true.

A Little Book of Hangover Cures, Alex Benady. I ordered this from England. In it you can learn about the "Puerto Rican Faith Cure" and the "Prairie Oyster Cure." Among other fascinating and hilarious "treatments."

Alcoholica Esoterica, Ian Lendler. I heard his interview on NPR and had to get this one. Full of fun facts. I'd love to get a poem out of it.

Eunoia, Chritian Bok. I finally got this after Ron's and Kathleen's posts about it. And it doesn't disappoint. I especially loved the short poems under "Vowels" that were anagrammatic texts of the letters in the title. Here's an excerpt:


loveless vessels

we vow
solo love

we see
love solve loss

else we see
love sow woe

selves we woo
we lose

Cut Off the Ears of Winter, Peter Covino. I first heard him at last year's AWP, and finally got around to finishing this book. "Box of Broken Things" is just devastating. A brutally honest poem after the death of his abusive father. Start there.

Some Ether, Nick Flynn. This came out in 2000, and I missed it back then. What a wonderful book. The suicide of his mother, which occurred when he was just a boy, informs one whole section, and many of the rest of the poems. And they are riveting poems. I wonder if this life event will continue to inform his work (how could it not?), the way Greg Orr's accidental shooting of his brother has continued to inform his work. Here's a sample poem:

You Ask How

& I say, suicide, & you ask
how & I say, an overdose, and then
she shot herself
& your eyes fill with what?
wonder? So I add, in the chest,
so you won't think
her face is gone, & it matters somehow
that you know this...

& near the end I
eat all her percodans, to know
how far they can take me, because
they are there
. So she
won't. Cut straws
stashed in her glove compartment,
& I split them open
to taste the alkaloid residue. Bitter.
Lingering. A bottle of red wine
moves each night along
as she writes, I feel too much,
again & again. Our phone now

unlisted, our mail
kept in a box at the post office
& my mother tells me to always leave
a light on so it seems
someone's home. She finds a cop
for her next boyfriend, his hair
greasy, pushed back with his fingers.
He lets me play with his service revolver
while they kiss on the couch.
As cars fill the windows, I aim,
making the noise with my mouth,
in case it's them,

& when his back is hunched over her I aim
between his shoulders blades,

in case it's him.

Also reading the latest Red Mountain Review, Gettysburg Review, and New England Review. But mostly just the poetry.


A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

Flynn's poem is fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

Have you listened to Bok read from Eunoia yet? It's pretty incredible.

Peter said...

AJ: I ordered the CD with the book. But haven't given it a listen yet. Soon . . .

A. J. Patrick Liszkiewicz said...

You're going to love it! The "U" section is hilariously awesome.

P. S. -- My word-verification is "pdlyioar," or, "Paddly I Oar." Which cracks me up. ; )

Charles said...

I just realized that Sarah Vap and I published one of Kathleen Flenniken's poems in HFR when we were editors! I loved that poem of hers, "Conversation with a Sensualist." Such a wonderful find.

Peter said...

Charles: What a small world! I was just with Kathleen yesterday, at a Yusef Komanyakaa reading here in Seattle. She's a good friend, and an excellent poet. I'll have to tell her.
I am so happy that Prairie Schooner/Nebraska Press is doing her first book. A terrific title: Famous.

Anne said...

I dare you to put "Chronic Plaque Psoriasis" in a poem. *grin*