Complete Physical

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The Porcupine's Quill, 2010 - Poetry - 60 pages
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Shane Neilson's accustomed fascination with the two great subjects, love and death, has an element of purely professional interest: he has written a poetry that fuses his poetic concerns with those of his profession as a physician. The poems in Complete Physical are primarily lyrics, but there is the occasional villanelle and sestina amidst a squalid sea of punchy narrative; all of the poems ponder what it means to be ill, and some of them celebrate what it means to recover. Some poems even consider the tragic point at which illness becomes identity.

'...Doctors share one important thing with poets: an obsession with death. Shane Neilson has turned that obsession and the special deathwatching vantage of his medical trade into a collection of poems as beguiling and as brave as any I have recently read. In a clinical universe where suffering is distanced by language, Complete Physical becomes a kind of extraordinary talking cure. The human predicament has rarely found itself in such good hands.' Carmine Starnino

The poems in Complete Physical address the most important question that the physical poses: How are we to live in this world? Neilson writes, 'The poems make that question tangential, they throw in details to make the poem fastenable...but they are always answering in earnest.' Neilson is a family physician who has written numerous books of poetry, all of which show fealty to his rural New Brunswick heritage.
 

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Contents

White Coat
9
Standard Advice
11
The Doctor Readies the Breathing Tube
12
The Death of Leo Emberson November 2006
13
The Death of Josie
15
Abscond
16
Terminus
17
Pain
18
Prescription
26
On Conducting Complete Physicals
27
Testing 1 2 3
28
The Test
30
Inside the Examining Room
31
Love Squawks through Technology
32
Christ Child in the Incubator
34
The Missed Appointment
36

Campanology
19
Curing Blindness
20
Ten Thoughts before the Stroke
21
Before Doctor Monologue
22
After Patient Monologue
23
On Diagnosing Alzheimers Dementia
24
Old Anatomy Textbooks
25
To My Wife
37
Reading Electrocardiograms
38
Love Poem for the Doctors Wife
39
Love Poem for the Doctors Wife Revisited
40
The Heart Is Statutory
41
Ode to Stealth
42
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Shane Neilson is a family physician who published his first book of poems with Frog Hollow Press in 2008 called Exterminate My Heart. He will publish Meniscus with Biblioasis in 2009, and Alice and George in 2011 with Goose Lane Editions. He also published a memoir about his training as a physician called Call Me Doctor. All of his writings show fealty to his origins in rural New Brunswick. He has also been anthologized in The New Canon (Signature, 2005) and

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