Prayer to a Purple God

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What is it like to be bound within America's health-care system? This volume looks at health and disease from many viewpoints: the patient, the nurse, the doctor, the loved one observing medical care in Intensive Care or the Emergency Room. A quadriplegic patient, the mother of a sick infant, and the mother of a brain-injured boy are some of the viewpoints painted by vivid imagery here. Constance Studer draws upon her twenty years' experience as a registered nurse in this book.


"These are sharp-edged, dark poems that speak a dangerous truth about the health of humans in these hard times of our earth. They reflect the changed landscape, the life of the body of woman, the body of God, the body of this land with its newly hazardous terrain. Yet there is light here, water, air, prairie grasses, and heart. These are poems to pay attention to, about what it means when health slips like a ring from earth’s finger." Linda Hogan, author of Solar Storms, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World, and The Book of Medicines

"Each poem in Prayer to a Purple God resonates in primal intensity and regard. Each poem focuses on a health emergency, the body’s vulnerability, the acts of doctors and nurses, and the vivid inner perceptions of those involved. Simultaneously, astonishingly, all are painted in terms of larger contexts and presences of earth. . . . Though grounded in the profound struggles and emotions of the hospital, many of these poems are reminiscent of Neruda’s odes in how they focus and yet open through metaphor and association. This is one powerful, compassionate, and unique book of poems." James Grabill, author of Poem Rising Out of the Earth, Oregon Book Award for Poetry, 1995.

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