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H Elfick, D Head. Jessica Kingsley, 2004, US$14.95, pp 127. ISBN 1843102471
Janet Frame, the great New Zealand writer and poet who died last year, wrote about people who commit suicide: “It is hard for us to enter/the kind of despair they must have known”. Hilary Elfick and David Head have provided us with a book that allows us to enter somewhat into the world of palliative care and see elements of despair but also of joy, sorrow, relief, confusion, and a whole range of other emotions.
This collection of poems by two people working in very different areas of hospice care illustrates at times quite graphically and almost brutally, but at times quite beautifully, the many facets of what it is like to be in a world with those approaching death. Some of the poems are harsh and almost confrontational, some are gentle and …