Welcome to real-deal, no-happy-meals-sold-here poetry. With her nurse's hand and poet's eye, Jeanne Bryner cuts into hidden human geographies--bodies "unhinged" like weathered barn doors, an open chest's "ribbed canyon," and bone cells like "drunken thugs in a cave." She claims the body as working class without a union to negotiate. This collection is a stunning achievement, a howl against going gently into any good night, a life claim that hits, and hits, and hits back at death. Bryner's SMOKE, sweet and acrid, heals wounds we have yet to see. - Janet Zandy, author of Hands: Physical Labor, Class, and Cultural Work
Jeanne Bryner possesses a vigilant eye for wonder and a deep capacity for gratitude. Decades of clinical practice have honed the clarity of her vision.We stand with the student in the OR "breathing the same air as seasoned OB nurses" and we cheer when she recovers the missing needle. One need not be in the healthcare field, however, to recognize the heroes found within these pages: the firefighters who confront the smoke and flames, the resilient children who endure the unimaginable, the old men stalwart as trees. Bryner makes the commonplace shine, spins wonder from hard won gratitude.
-- Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago