A Memoir of Cancer
Paper 146 pp.
Online discount: 25%
When poet and essayist Kenneth Sherman was diagnosed with cancer,
he began keeping a notebook of observations that blossomed into this
powerful memoir. With incisive and evocative language, Sherman presents
a clear-eyed view of what the cancer patient feels and thinks. His
narrative voice is personal but not confessional, practical but not
cold, thoughtful and searching but not self-pitying or self-absorbed.
The author’s wait time for surgery on a malignant tumour was exceptionally long and riddled with bureaucratic bumbling; thus he asks our health-care providers and administrators if our system cannot be made efficient and more humane. While he is honest about what is good and bad in our system, he is not stridently political or given to directing blame. His narrative is interwoven with engaging ruminations on the meaning of illness in society, and is peppered with references to other writers’ thoughts on the subject. A widely published poet, Sherman helps the reader understand the deep connection between disease and creativity—the ways in which we write out of our suffering. Wait Time will be of special interest to anyone facing a serious illness as well as to health-care providers, social workers, and psychologists working in the field. Its thoughtful observations on health, life priorities, time, and mortality will make it of interest to all readers.
Kenneth Sherman is the author of ten books of poetry and two collections of essays. His most recent books are the highly acclaimed long poem Black River (2007) and the award-winning book of essays What the Furies Bring (2009). He lives in Toronto, where he conducts poetry writing workshops.
“Wait Time, by noted Canadian poet Ken Sherman, is an honest, clear-sighted, humorous and at times eloquent entree into [the category of cancer memoir], not any less gripping because of a happy ending. (He survives.)”
— Philip Marchand, The National Post, 2016 February 3