Monday, May 25, 2015

Edric Mesmer reviews Katie L. Price’s BRCA: Birth of a Patient (2015) in Yellow Field #10

Edric Mesmer reviews Katie L. Price’s BRCA: Birth of a Patient (2015) in Yellow Field #10. Much thanks! And of course, copies are still very much available.

Katie L. Price
BRCA: Birth of a Patient
above/ground press

Of ways inadequate to approach Katie L. Price’s chapbook, with cover image of chest x-ray of female torso, there are many. All found text, these roman numeraled sections guide a reader through stages in the construction of this patient; thereby, the reader is somewhere near witness—at a distance not necessarily safe; and from here the most poignant of arguments for reading as sexed are met. As conceptual poem, this comes perhaps closer than any to representing that x-rayed ribcage—if not heart itself—all too human if far from embrace. The reader is not here to make anything better. In Anne Boyer’s defiantly exploratory essay “The Sororal Death” she maps the separate continents of the personal “I” and the term “cancer.” Price’s approach offers a different way to, occurring in third person, with redacted names of patient and doctors. As goes the analysis that Sappho’s poems may not be about her but “Sappho” in highly ritualized telling, the author is able to stand without. This may [be] the gift of the conceptual poem. Untoward that vacuum the reader comes dangerously close—close to the Reason for Visit, the Family History, the Consent for and Risks of Chemotherapy…How inhabit the reading of such a line as: “24 y.o. […] woman with newly diagnosed ER+/ PR+/Her 2neu 3+ breast cancer undergoing neoadjuvant DD AC +TH”? It leaves out what Sontag called (as quoted by Boyer) “one more story in the first person of how someone learned that she or he had cancer, wept, struggled, was comforted, suffered, took courage…” Now the poem goes there.

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