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Essays on the Art of Nursing
A collection revealing the joys, fears, intimacies, and transcendent moments shared by a nurse and her patients
“The Heart’s Truth should be required reading at every nursing school in the country. It offers a powerful and moving portrait of what it means to be a nurse. In writing that is of the highest quality, the reader is swept up in the drama of nursing and the compassion with which it is perfused.”—Richard Selzer, surgeon and author
“Davis has perfectly captured the broader arc of movement from awkward, insecure novice to competent, often morally exhausted, clinician, with a poet’s touch.”—Amy M. Haddad, PhD
“In her breathtaking collection of essays, Cortney Davis reveals ‘the details of flesh’ that comprise the core of a nurse’s experience. Writing with the power, precision and careful observation of a seasoned clinician and the sensitivity of a poet, Davis guides the reader along the challenging path of her career.”— Richard Berlin, poet and physician
“Cortney Davis has an uncanny ability to give voice to the profound act of everyday nursing and its power in transforming the lives of people. Somehow, she sees the shadows and ghosts that fill our bodies and souls and makes sense of them, showing us that the divide between patient and provider is an artificial one that can get in the way of true understanding. The Heart’s Truth reminds us of the power of reflection and narrative and challenges us to reclaim these ways of knowing in the interest of healing our patients—and ourselves.”—Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Nursing
What is it like to be a student nurse washing the feet of a dying patient? To be a newly graduated nurse, in charge of the Intensive Care Unit for the first time, who wonders if her mistake might have cost a life? Or to be an experienced nurse who, by her presence and care, holds a patient to this world? Poet and nurse practitioner Cortney Davis answers these questions by examining her own experiences and through them reveals a glimpse into the minds and hearts of those who care for us when we are at our most vulnerable. The Heart’s Truth offers the joys, frustrations, fears, and miraculous moments that nurses, new and experienced, face every day.
In these finely wrought essays, Davis traces her twin paths, nursing and writing, inviting readers to share what she discovers along the way—lessons not only about the human body but also about the human soul. Rich, intimate, and never shrinking from the realities of illness, the grace of healing, or the wonder of words, The Heart’s Truth will inspire student caregivers, intrigue readers, and affirm those who have long worked in nursing, a profession that Davis calls “odd, mysterious, humbling, addicting, and often transcendent.”
The Pennsylvania Torso Murders
From 1934 to 1938, Cleveland, Ohio, was racked by a classic battle between good and evil. On one side was the city’s safety director, Eliot Ness. On the other was a nameless phantom dubbed the “Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run,” who littered the inner city with the remains of decapitated and dismembered corpses. Never caught or even officially identified, the Butcher simply faded into history, leaving behind a frightening legend that both haunts and fascinates Cleveland to this day. In 2001 the Kent State University Press published James Jessen Badal’s In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders, the first serious, book-length treatment of this dark chapter in true crime history. Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher—a detailed study of the arrest and mysterious death of Frank Dolezal, the only man ever charged in the killings—followed in 2010.
Now Badal concludes his examination of the horrific cycle of murder-dismemberments with Hell’s Wasteland: The Pennsylvania Torso Murders. During the mid-1920s, a vast, swampy area just across the Ohio border near New Castle, Pennsylvania, revealed a series of decapitated and otherwise mutilated bodies. In 1940 railroad workers found the rotting remains of three naked and decapitated bodies in a string of derelict boxcars awaiting destruction in Pennsylvania’s Stowe Township. Were all of these terrible murders the work of Cleveland’s Mad Butcher? Many in Ohio and Pennsylvania law enforcement thought they were, and that assumption led to a massive, well-coordinated two-state investigation. In Hell’s Wasteland, Badal explores that nagging question in depth for the first time.
Relying on police reports, unpublished memoirs, and the surviving autopsy protocols—as well as contemporary newspaper coverage— Badal provides a detailed examination of the murder-dismemberments and weighs the evidence that potentially links them to the Cleveland carnage. Hell’s Wasteland is the last piece in the gigantic torso murder puzzle that spanned three decades, covered two states, and involved law enforcement from as many as five different cities.
Bloodlines and the Color Line
A social historical reading of Hemingway through the lens of race
William Faulkner has long been considered the great racial interrogator of the early-twentieth-century South. In Hemingway, Race, and Art, author Marc Kevin Dudley suggests that Ernest Hemingway not only shared Faulkner’s racial concerns but extended them beyond the South to encompass the entire nation. Though Hemingway wrote extensively about Native Americans and African Americans, always in the back of his mind was Africa. Dudley sees Hemingway’s fascination with, and eventual push toward, the African continent as a grand experiment meant to both placate and comfort the white psyche, and to challenge and unsettle it, too.
Twentieth-century white America was plagued by guilt in its dealings with Native Americans; simultaneously, it faced an increasingly dissatisfied African American populace. Marc Kevin Dudley demonstrates how Hemingway’s interest in race was closely aligned to a national anxiety over a changing racial topography. Affected by his American pedigree, his masculinity, and his whiteness, Hemingway’s treatment of race is characteristically complex, at once both a perpetuation of type and a questioning of white self-identity.
Hemingway, Race, and Art expands our understanding of Hemingway and his work and shows how race consciousness pervades the texts of one of America’s most important and influential writers.
Reflections on the Writer by His Longtime Majordomo
“This is the story of a poor, young Cuban boy who grew into a man and gained the trust and respect of a famous American author, whom he loved like a father. A man he called ‘Papa.’’—from the Preface
In 1996 René Villarreal returned to Cuba to retrieve his memoir of his life with Ernest Hemingway at the Finca Vigia. Sadly, he learned that the manuscript and photographs had been lost. Determined to tell his story, Villarreal, together with his son Raúl, set about rewriting the account of how he came to be Ernest Hemingway’s majordomo, confidant, and friend—his Cuban son.
Hemingway, called El Americano by the Cubans, moved into the Finca Vigia, an estate outside of Havana, in 1939. He allowed the village children to play on his property, and they soon became fixtures, caring for his pets, performing odd jobs, and running errands. Hemingway recognized René as especially responsible and attentive and made him household manager, or majordomo, in 1946 when René was only seventeen.
For the next fifteen years, René ran the Finca, tending to Hemingway and his wife, Mary, and their visiting family and distinguished guests. Villarreal’s clear recollections offer up humorous stories of escapades and adventures with Hemingway as well as insightful comments on the writer’s work habits, moods, passions, and friendships. He also writes of Cuba before and after the revolution, capturing so well the sense of place and time. Scholars and readers of Hemingway worldwide will be caught up in this compelling story of a great friendship and will find insight into this complicated, fascinating, brilliant writer.
Daniel Carter’s Here Both Sweeter is a book in which you “have a seedling in each pocket,” a “body bodies,” and words are something you “carve out” so as to make a home. The poems are stories, are seeds, are secret messages cast and sent across the natural world to a reader, where they blossom in the imagination. The plot is “scatter-wild,” the lyrics “all willful and fallow.” Carter’s language serves as a garden, rich and strange, full of acorns and ink and ash, and in it the green world (of nature, of the heart and body, of words and ideas) is overturned, recycled, and remade.
Radical History and the Early Republic
A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown
The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”
Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.
A Critical Biography of Ruth Pitter
An important addition to the literature on modern English poets and poetry
A significant poet in her own right, Ruth Pitter has long deserved this biography, which thoughtfully assesses her place in the British poetic landscape. Popular in the United Kingdom from the early 1930s until her death in 1992, Pitter won the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1937 for A Trophy of Arms and was the first woman to win the Queen’s Gold Medal for poetry in 1955. A working artisan from Chelsea, she lived through World War I and World War II and appeared often on BBC radio and television. Pitter had close relationships with C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Lord David Cecil, and other Inklings. Author Don W. King’s exploration of these notable friendships brings a critical perspective to Pitter’s remarkable life and work.
Once she found her poetic voice, Pitter created work that is profound, amusing, and beautiful. The lyricism and accessibility of her poems reflect her personality—humorous, independent, brave, kind, stern, proud, and humble. King draws on Pitter’s personal journals and letters to present this overview of her life and also offers a close, critical reading of Pitter’s poetry, tracing her development as a poet.
Hunting the Unicorn is the first treatment to discuss the entire body of Pitter’s verse. It will appeal to scholars and general readers as it places Pitter into the overall context of twentieth-century British poetry and portrays a rather modest, hardworking woman who also “witnessed” the world through the lens of a gifted poet.
Anthony Burns and the Landscape of Race in Antebellum America
Gripping re-examination of the rendition of Anthony Burns
"This well-researched and clearly written study gets a new series off to a promising start. The chapter on antislavery life in St. Catharines, Ontario, is especially valuable."
Winner of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“[Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is] a rarity: a mature debut, a first book of poems with time-tested virtues. . . . Unlike many of the Vietnam poems written at the time of the war or shortly thereafter—poems of anger or protest—Edward Micus’s poems are composed, in every sense of that word. They delineate and measure their subjects; they do not advocate or hector; they do not sentimentalize. Many of them, like ‘Ambush Moon’ and ‘So We Shot,’ will take their places among the very best war poems. . . . The Infirmary is a book that keeps deepening its concerns. For all its early charm, it pretties up nothing. Yet it’s not without humor, and its prose interludes are written with the same care that the poems themselves exhibit.”<br /> —from the foreword by Stephen Dunn, <br /> Judge of the 2008 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize
“In the old story of love and loss, Lisa Ampleman’s I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You cuts to the core of the matter with concision and subtlety. Hearts are laid bare, dissected, even grown anew. Masterfully structured and alert to the most vital details, this collection has lots to tell us—and a voice at once authentic and lyrical with which to do it.” —Don Bogen
“In these poems, the beloved is a space the speaker moves through—at first with trepidation, then with gathering force—emerging finally into a hard-won world ravishing in its clarity under a brutally beautiful ‘sky pinking up/like a newly healed limb.’ The poems of Lisa Ampleman’s collection don’t flinch, and the reward of their acute seeing is a song that’s sustenance itself.” —Kerri Webster
“Lisa Ampleman’s subtle and beautifully wrought poems make way for the possibility that all is not ‘frenzy’ in this ‘agitated world.’ Although we might be ‘the walking wounded,’ and ‘like Thomas/need scars to believe,’ the poems assure us that we heal, that wholeness and grace await us.” —Eric Pankey
“A prairie is plain, they say—those who have not stood in one. And so, too, is an ordinary heartbreak, until Lisa Ampleman begins to unfold it in these closely observed and quietly surprising poems. Salvation doesn’t live here, but there’s plenty to salvage in the wry, self-effacing metaphors by which she harvests what wisdom experience yields.” —Susan Tichy,