The Only Card in a Deck of Knives
88 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-09-1
The Only Card in a Deck of Knives is a groundbreaking new collection in the area of sickness poetry. Within these poems, Lauren Turner aims to reclaim the "hysterical" label given to sick women throughout history. Rather than shying away from the emotional urgency and raw vulnerability surrounding a terminal diagnosis, Turner shines an interrogative light upon it. These fierce poems are written from the perspective of a twentysomething female speaker with a terminal disease, a speaker who is preoccupied with maintaining the illusion of health, but then refers to herself as "dying" in the next line. Fascinated and repelled by the societal impulse to gussy up diseases that take violent, and sometimes deadly, tolls upon women’s bodies, Turner uses these lyric poems to juxtapose the violence of a gendered illness with the violence encountered by women and non-binary people in society. The Only Card in a Deck of Knives unpacks society’s impulse to pull away from sick women and examines why we discredit their professed pain, symptoms and emotions.
Lauren Turner is a disabled poet and essayist, who wrote the chapbook, We're Not Going to Do Better Next Time (knife | fork | book, 2018). Her work has appeared in Grain, Arc Magazine, Poetry is Dead, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Puritan, canthius and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Short Grain Contest and was a finalist for the 2017 3Macs carte blanche Prize. She lives in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal on the unceded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.