The Radiation Sonnets

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When one of America's best-loved, bestselling authors faces a life-altering crisis, she responds by creating a remarkable sequence of poems that offers hope and reassurance to others seeking comfort.

Jane Yolen has spent her life giving enjoyment to millions of readers with her award-winning books and poems. But when her husband was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor in his skull, she began to write to find solace. For the forty-three days that David underwent radiation treatment, Jane spent each night pouring her emotions into a sonnet. It was the only part of the day over which she felt she had any control. When Jane read some of those poems on NPR's All Things Considered, there was an immediate outpouring of support and a clamoring for her work from cancer patients, those who treat and care for them, and those listeners simply moved by her words. The Radiation Sonnets is for them.

The poems reflect not only what happened on a particular day--the naps and nausea, visits from family and friends, Jane's struggle to get food into her weakened husband--but also tell a larger story: of her deep love for her husband, her ambivalence about medical technology, her joy in small victories, her acknowledgment of life's utter precariousness, her humor in the face of fear, and her refusal to give up hope.

For caregivers and survivors alike, for anyone whose life has been touched by illness, The Radiation Sonnets is a triumphant celebration of the human spirit.