LIBROS: Review de la Semana
“Body of Diminishing Motion”
BODY OF DIMINISHING MOTION is the second title from LaurelBooks, CavanKerry’s Literature of Illness imprint, which features poetry and prose that explore the many poignant issues associated with confronting serious physical and/or psychological illness. Collecting poems and a prose memoir by Joan Seliger Sidney, this poignant, life-affirming volume speaks to the author’s experiences living with multiple sclerosis for four decades, as well as her personal legacy as the daughter of a strong-willed Holocaust survivor.
“BODY OF DIMINISHING MOTION makes a rare conjunction between the personal and private and the public and communal,” writes award-winning poet Robert Cording in his preface. “To set healing ‘in motion’ the speaker knows that she must accept the difference between her spirit’s healing and the cure she has sought, but which will never be found, for her body’s breakdown. She knows, too, that she must accept the paradox of the past – the way it is both a prison and the path to freedom. It is the past, and particularly the speaker’s mother’s past, that is suffocating – ‘How many have you dragged/into your Holocaust past?’ the speaker asks her mother… To live again, the speaker must learn to ‘forge links’ with this past without allowing it to imprison her.” The poems that open the book are placed into three sections. The first, “Preserves,” returns to childhood and before, where the lingering despair over family lost to Nazi butchery mingles with pleasant if fleeting memories of happier times, all now tempered by the new disappointments that have come with discovery of disease. “But with every step on these wobbling legs, I know/ I disappoint you,” the poet laments. The poems in the next section, “Betrayal,” confront the MS Head-on, the pleasures that have been stolen, the frustrations and the anger that must be faced, The final section, “Castoffs,” forges links between the parents’ “Holocaust truths” and the truth of the here and now — the retreat “to a country without words.”
Ultimately, BODY OF DIMINSIHING MOTION is a sympathetic, if unapologetic evocation of building a life despite living with a chronic illness. “Sidney’s portrait of life with MS is fresh and sensitive, and very much needed,” writes Bruce R. Ransom, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of neurology at the University of Washington. “Wielding her art in a brave and unflinching way, she provides a wonderfully nuanced and emotionally true account of living with an unpredictable but relentless enemy bent on sabotaging communications within her brain…. Profound in its candor and eloquence, BODY OF DIMINSIHING MOTION is a brave, enduring work that will speak to anyone who had been touched by illness and refused to succumb to its power.