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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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The Radiation Sonnets: For My Love, in Sickness and in Health Hardcover – October 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; First Edition edition (October 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565124022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565124028
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These 43 sonnets by Yolen, a bestselling children's author (How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?), are written in the traditional rhymed form with three quatrains and a couplet. After her husband, David, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, she found that composing a sonnet every night, when he was undergoing daily radiation treatments, was a discipline that helped her get through this difficult time. Through her poetry, she deals with emotionally painful issues, such as the changes in her husband's appearance, the suffering he was experiencing and the love and concern they felt for one another during this time. Yolen beautifully conveys the distance that can come between an ill person and his or her caretaker when both formerly lived as healthy partners. Other sonnets describe the effect of David's illness on their grown children and Yolen's fear that he would not survive. Several inclusions describe her sometimes ineffectual attempts to encourage David to eat more. Best read as verse-memoir, this short collection is a welcome addition to the many books written about coping with illness and death.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Although Donald Hall's Without (1998), poems about the illness and death of his wife, the poet Jane Kenyon, and hers about his earlier treatment for cancer (in Otherwise, 1996), have more literary cachet, Yolen's poems about her husband's radiation treatment for a brain tumor more nearly approximate the ideal book of consolatory poetry for beleaguered mates. They constitute a sonnet sequence, which like traditional sonnet sequences--love poetry, after all--speaks to the beloved first and then to others. If their occasions are intensely, often painfully private, they are written from the conviction that intimate experiences are, if seldom fittingly public, almost always general. Nearly every long-term couple will endure the sickness and death of one of the partners, and reading of the fears, sufferings, and ultimate triumphs that love allows cannot help but provide solace and inspiration--and the plainer spoken such writing is, the more it will encourage. Prolific and successful children's author Yolen writes with utmost clarity and precision, uses very ordinary vocabulary, and rhymes and measures with casual, unobtrusive grace. If this isn't capital-L literature, it is probably, at the very least, a common, small-c classic. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. The distinguished author of more than 170 books, Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that "throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture." Folklore is the "perfect second skin," writes Yolen. "From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world." Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: "I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Kerner on October 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heard the NPR broadcast of Jane Yolen reading from her collection of "Radiation Sonnets" and was astounded by how moving that excerpt was, so I ordered the book. The *whole book* is as moving and as brilliant.

Jane Yolen has made her reputation as a multi-award-winning author in a number of spheres: fantasy novels for adults (Sister Light, Sister Dark), for young adults (The Devil's Arithmetic), for children (Owl Moon, How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?) - but her poetry, especially this collection, is so honest and real that it reaches right out and grabs your heart.

I cannot say how deeply moved I have been reading this book. My husband came back from work and found me in tears: a dear cousin of mine died of a particularly vicious cancer a few years ago, and I wish to heaven that I could have sent this book to her husband at the time.

Of course it has a universal appeal to anyone who is caring for, or has cared for, someone undergoing radiation therapy - but there is also the obvious love story of Jane and her husband. The nearest I can come to a parallel would be 'A Grief Observed' by C.S. Lewis, in terms of the revelation of deep personal feelings, but Lewis (God rest his soul) was apparently a man who found it hard to deal with emotions - he married late and had no children. Jane Yolen has children and grandchildren and she is writing these sonnets for the man who has shared her whole life.

Powerful. Honest, true, painful and triumphant - what an astounding work. This is a book that will give comfort to the thousands of us who will almost certainly have, at some point, to deal with the maelstrom of emotions involved when a loved one has cancer. Read it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Audrey C. Friedman on February 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Crossing genres from Young Adult to Poetry, Jane Yolen surprises me yet again. There is nothing glib here in this collection of 42 sonnets, nothing that the poetry critics would call elegant. Considering the subject and the reader who might be the caretaker of someone seriously ill, the poetry enthusiast, or the poet, this is the book's strength. Each of these poems were written during a day of the 42 day regimen of radiation of Yolen's husband, and the work does way more than chronicle the horrid effects of the potential "salvation." She gets into the heart of the role she plays in this situation, into the heart of the wife, and of the marriage. Jane Yolen has succeeded with little artifice, little poetic device, just a heart she's opened and shared with her readership.
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Format: Hardcover
Radiation Sonnets is a wonderful collection, written from the heart and mind. It is a touchy subject and Yolen refrains from becoming touchy and instead takes the reader on a journey through the very real experience of cancer. Her sonnets are carefully crafted and right on point. I go back to this collection again and again, not just because she took the subject and illuminated it beautifully, but also because she can really "sonnet!"

A keeper for sure.
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By Amazon Customer on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely wonderful. I rarely buy books new, but this was absolutely worth it - these sonnets are so powerful, so well-written, that I am thrilled to own this beautiful little book.
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Format: Hardcover
I gave it to my supervisor and she passed it around in her support group. Her husband died of brain cancer. The poems are sweet, intelligent, and accessible.
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