A transcendent account of the effects of breast cancer.
Winner of the Nebraska Book Award for Poetry (2002)
This elegant and moving collection documents Hilda Raz's experience with breast cancer. The journey, from diagnosis to chemotherapy to mastectomy, from denial to humor to grief and rage, is ultimately one of courage and creativity. The poems themselves are accessible and finely wrought. They are equally testaments to Raz's insistence on making an order out of chaos, of finding ways to create and understand and eventually accept new definitions of good and evil, health, blame, personal boundaries — in short, a new sense of self. These poems remain intimately bound to the world and of the senses, becoming documents of transformation.
HILDA RAZ is Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and Editor-in-Chief of the literary quarterly Prairie Schooner. Her books include Trans (Wesleyan, 2001), The Bone Dish (1989), What Is Good (1988), and What Happens (1986).
"Transgressive and transcendent, Hilda Raz's new poems are intimately involved with the physical, corporeal world, and constantly making the leap of faith necessary to its re-embodiment in words. These poems push the boundaries of what language can do to enunciate perception. Their beauty, their clarity, their mystery equally compel."~Marilyn Hacker
"Divine Honors is a rare book, one that foes honor to its subjects and transcends it at the same time. An unflinching account of the cost and the effects of breast cancer, Divine Honors illuminates much more about a women's life that has, mysteriously, remained shadowy in so many other accounts of women's lives. Few books change your way of viewing the world. This one does."~Susan Fromberg Schaffer
"In Divine Honors, we're in for a head-on collision with grief, the inescapable fact of cancer. Raz conveys joy and hope and love of others and of the natural world turned into poetry, after that horrible discovery and ordeal. The best of the poems are breathtaking –– the sensuous imagery, the sounds she repeats for the pleasure of reading, and the surprising juxtaposition of images. I love this book of poems –– grief and longing turned into poetry."~Walter McDonald