MESS: THE HOSPITAL ANTHOLOGY

ISBN: 9781926639543
PRICE: $15.95 special sale price—save $6!




In this compelling anthology of hospital-and medical-industry themed writing, essays explore various topical subjects, including health care, the aged, families, doctors, mortality, fatality, and the growing concern for safety, service, and well-being. Featuring contributors from a wide range of connections to medical drama—patients, loved ones, and providers being the most prominent—this collection will appeal to those in the medical profession as well as patients and their family members.

In the anthology’s foreword, Tabatha Southey writes, “These are travelogues to a land we seldom plan on touring, a land we skirt, but that we must visit and which is in fact extraordinary.” Serious, sad, light, funny, and sometimes all of these at once, the wisdom of these stories will find resonance with practitioners, students, and anyone interacting with the healthcare system.

“With Mess, Devaney and Molenhuis have shone a spotlight where many of us still fear to tread, doing patients an enormous service in illuminating their experiences with the potential of changing our healthcare system for the better, and also creating an emotional and most compelling read.”—Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This

“This book is a rare gem of contemporary scholarship…whether patient, family member or professional, whether scholar or member of the general public: Read this book.”–Kathryn Church, Director of Disability Studies at Ryerson University

Julie Devaney is the author of My Leaky Body. She was named one of the Women Health Heroes by Best Health Magazine in 2011, has received national media attention on CBC’s White Coat Black Art’s “Talking Back” episode, and has been profiled in Abilities Magazine, Chatelaine, and The Toronto Star. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Dave Molenhuis is a journalist and the national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

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Excerpt from Best Canadian Poetry 2008, “Introduction”

Introduction

As I read 2007’s possible contenders – each on several occasions, to increase a poem’s chances of striking me in a receptive moment – what was I looking for? First: good writing. Awkward or rote syntax; familiar expressions, images and locutions; or random lineation, ruled a poem out. A meaningfully rebellions and distinctive syntax or deliberately dissonant music often riled it in. Second: depth and challenge, be that emotional or intellectual. If additional readings failed to yield new insights and appreciations, but rather, dulled the flash I’d sensed the first time around, the poem lost its Post-it note. Finally, and inseparable from the first two criteria: an interesting, even strange, sensibility or imagination. (As an undergrad, I fumed when one of my instructors remarked that my poems failed to startle. I didn’t want to startle; surely the startle factor was overrated. Only later dud I realize that what I did want to do – to please – doomed my poems to mediocrity.) “Startling” need not imply clatter and flash. I sought poems that excited and surprised me, that felt (boldly or quietly) necessary, often urgent. I sought poems serious and poems frivolous (though seriously frivolous). Those poems that played it safe, that failed to follow through on the risks they initiated, or that took risks apparently for their own sake, without integrity to form content, did not make it into the anthology, though some distinguished themselves enough to appear on the long list. I was without doubt a tougher critic than if I’d been reading fewer poems, but asking myself whether I could confidently put my name behind a particular choice forced me to be discerning.


For more information about The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from Best Canadian Essays 2009, “Introduction”

INTRODUCTION

When Ezra Pound recommended that “poetry should be at least as well-written as prose” he confirmed what every journalist, book reviewer, literary critic, and magazine writer already knew: prose is hard work. It can be as economical, sensuous, and bracing as poetry, but, unlike poetry, prose has specific rules and provides specific guarantees. That’s because prose is what you turn to when you want to say something about something. One really can’t afford to be at a loss for words. It is an information conductor: no matter how stylish your sentences, your syntax must serve up clarity not ambiguity.

Prose is also the freelancer’s medium. Written for payment, prose is a product that, in turn, is sold to consumers who inhabit a marketplace filled with distractions. The writing, therefore, needs to be lively and incisive. It needs to act swiftly on the reader. What’s more, people who write prose are people who hustle after assignments. They tend to have a habit of taking on too much, which means they live a life oppressed by deadlines. There’s no time, therefore, to become self-conscious or rhetorical. When such writers get in trouble, they need solutions that work on the fly. But if they’re good, their instinct for expediency shares space with an appetite for artistry. They try to find new ways to build rhythm into their paragraphs. They try to find new ways to construct crisp, well-shaped sentences. The end result is a kind of belletristic grace: writing that wants us to take pleasure in the experience of reading it, but also has an overwhelming interest in making itself understood. This twofold challenge—to hold the reader’s attention, while giving them news they need—is why prose plays such a vital role in building up a viable public culture.

We looked high and low for essays that displayed this kind of prose, from literary periodicals to web journals to general-interest magazines. We were spoiled for choice. “An essay,” said Ian Hamilton, “can be an extended book review, a piece of reportage, a travelogue, a revamped lecture, an amplified diary-jotting, a refurbished sermon. In other words, an essay can be just about anything it wants to be, anything its author chooses to ‘essay.’ ” Hamilton here reminds us that the term is drawn from the French verb essayer: to try on, attempt, put to the test. No surprise, then, that so many of the essays we found revel in the opportunities the form offers as a vehicle for exploration. No navel-gazing, either. Writers delivered their stories from the front lines of human experience. They addressed themselves directly, and fearlessly, to serious subjects. They worked hard to produce original approaches to important, much-covered topics suffering breezy neglect by a bored media. What this book helps prove is that, along with our talent for short stories, Canadians excel at the essay form. We have a knack for open-mindedness, feel uneasy around oversimplifications, try to square any starkly opposed positions. Growing up somewhere between American gusto and British reserve, we are perhaps well-positioned to make balanced, nuanced, valuable observations. We have a built-in appreciation of diversity and culture. We are also, by nature, generalists: we like to know many things about lots of subjects. All of which gives Canadian prose a three-dimensional credibility.


For more information about The Best Canadian Essays 2009 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from Best Canadian Poems 2009, “Introduction: Canadian Poetry Today”

Introduction: Canadian Poetry Today
The Feeling for Being: Canadian Poetry in a Landscape

Today’s Canadian poetry is an adventure undertaken with brio. Its clarity and surge are evident equally whether its mood is dark or light, its pace meditative or militant. Great human hopes and debates are engaged with an openness that bespeaks humility, but with the confidence that leads an artist to firm outline, to vivid colour and movement. These qualities are evident on every page of The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009. Let me choose these lines from Dave Margoshes’ poem “Becoming a Writer”:

What could be easier than learning to write?
Novels, poems, fables with and without morals,
they’re all within you, in the heart, the head,
the bowel, the tip of the pen a diviner’s rod.
Reach inside and there they are…


For more information about The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2009 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from George Fetherling and His Work, “Introduction”

The witness, an Introduction

George Fetherling is what Robin Skelton used to call a “scribbler”: someone such as himself whose compulsive writing is faster than sound. Sound is a problem. Fetherling, the poet/novelist/artist/cultural journalist who has mastered the silent word, switching genres with a click of his many-coloured pen, was born with a speech handicap. He has, in the jargon of the differently abled, compensated, the way stutterers are known to sing or recite poetry fluently even though speech is difficult. In book after book of articulate prose and poetry, Fetherling (the last name is an anglicized spelling of an old Dutch word for scribe or scrivener) sings like a bird with a thorn in its chest. Like children born with learning disabilities who often develop prodigious oral and artistic skills, he proves the adaptability of human beings.


For more information about George Fetherling and His Work or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from I.V. Lounge Nights, “The End of the World”

The End of The World

The persistent cough, the routine procedure,
the congenital defect, the faulty wiring,
the fire in the starboard engine, the force majeure,
the mistress in the city, the last spirited thrust,
the little breeze off the coast of Africa,
the apples torn from the trees,
the unopened mail, the paperboy ringing the bell,
the atmospheric anomaly, the snow on the TV,
the hot wind with its tincture of rotten fish,
the wasps-nest of tumors, the drug-resistant strain,
the feeding tube, the shunt, the morphine drip,
the fatigue and general malaise,
the night inventory of the medicine cabinet,
the sleeping pills, the razor blades,
the reversals suffered as a child,
the bend in the road, the patch of black ice,
the telephone pole advancing in the high beams,
the statistical improbability, the cougar attack,
the stray piece of cosmic debris, the locals celebrating
the wedding of the loveliest girl in the village
by firing their guns into the air.


For more information about I.V. Lounge Nights or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Excerpt from She’s Shameless, “Introduction: This Is Not An After School Special”

Introduction: This is Not an After-School Special
Stacey May Fowles and Megan Griffith-Greene

“There are things in my life I regret, things I hope I can fix, things I still hope to accomplish, but I believe that shame is worthless. Let other people hold those scales. I have my hands full.”
-Amy Saxon Bosworth, I Don’t Wear Cloaks

This is not an after-school special. The pages of this book do not contain cautionary tales about the dangers of peer pressure, how doing drugs will ruin your life, how you should save yourself until marriage, and how you should stay in school.

In fact, it’s always really bothered us the way that people talk about, and to, youth. The world never gives young people all that much credit—teens are too young to make their own decisions; they are apathetic and shallow, reckless and thoughtless. That sort of thinking is a caricature: stupid, offensive, and, more often than not, hypocritical.

So we set out to create an anthology to combat that condescension, where women told the truth about their lives as teenagers—no bullshit.


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An excerpt from The Best Canadian Poetry 2010, “Introduction: Holding Feathers in Your Teeth”

INTRODUCTION: HOLDING FEATHERS IN YOUR TEETH

Naming takes place almost immediately after creation in the Book of Genesis. God, who perhaps understood the difficulty of the task, washed his hands of it and gave the responsibility to the man he’d just moulded from clay and spittle. There are two different kinds of Adams, according to Don McKay in one of his talks about poetry. The one who is the scientist, Don says, observes the animals, names them, and goes home happy to a warm supper and a good sleep, his job complete. The Adam who is the poet observes them, names them, goes home, and can’t eat or sleep. He knows he didn’t get it right and has to try again. And again.


For more information about The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2010 or to purchase it, please click here.

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An excerpt from Best Canadian Essays 2010, edited by Alex Boyd and Kamal Al-Solaylee

INTRODUCTION

When 2009 was only a few weeks old, the world was still reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The word “recovery”—the theme of the latter half of 2009—seemed more like wishful thinking than a reality. Still, some economists and business journalists seem to think that Canada was spared the banking meltdowns and real-estate collapse that brought the American economy—and the British, the Irish, Icelandic, you name it—to its knees. Our banking habits and national trait saved us from the worst consumerist excesses.

Out-of-work Canadians and cultural workers who’ve seen their already-meagre funding disappear before their eyes may disagree with this rosy picture, but as editors of The Best Canadian Essays 2010, we have ample evidence to suggest that as the world turned, ushering in a cycle of penny- pinching and overspending (a.k.a. stimulus), Canadian magazine writers managed to invest their capital in a range of timely and timeless stories. The economy may have dictated newspaper headlines, but introspection, and social and environmental concerns gave writers a chance to examine a bigger picture—one that transcends the ups and downs of trading indexes and banking scandals.

The anthology you’re about to read captures a year in the life of Canada through the eyes of several of its best essayists. For some, the word “essay” conjures up images of returning to school and being forced to write about your summer vacation, but we’re out to prove it isn’t a dirty word. These essays (sometimes even referred to as “stories” in correspondence with authors) cover everything from dog-sled racing up north to urban attempts to beat the aging process. Our writers contemplate subjects as personal as faith and as large as disturbing social trends. This is writing loaded with incisive observations and ideas.


For more information about Best Canadian Essays 2010 or to purchase the book, please click here.

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Exerpt from “Haunted: An Introduction”, found in In the Dark

Sitting down in your favourite armchair to read this book, you’ll hear the soft swish as you meander from story to story and you’ll think to yourself that the sound of paged turning is soothing. But that’s not the whisper of paper you hear, it’s something else.

Don’t you know? Ghosts haunt books more than any place else: the ghosts of past readers and borrowers, the ghosts of protagonists and antagonists. Ephemeral words have their own ghosts, spirits descending on the arcing trajectory of metamorphed ancient languages. There is no more spook- ridden activity than the reading of books.

And ghosts love books about ghosts more than anything else, for ghosts, if nothing else, are more self-absorbed than the living. So before you sit down quietly at 2:00a.m. ti read this book (for when you read a book of ghost stories, it is always 2:00 a.m.), there are some things I must tell you. Some things to warn you about…


For more information about In the Dark: Stories from the Supernatural or to purchase the book, please click here.

 

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