• Comfort Measures Only: New and Selected Poems, 1994–2016

    Author(s):
    Pages: 184
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World, ex. UK & Cmwlth, incl. Canada
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    978-1-4780-0007-5
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    978-1-4780-0021-1
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  • "In every poem, as in his and our lives generally, the world goes reeling around him, and regardless of whether he has a good bedside manner, he’s a compelling companion in verse. His poetic success depends on an unobtrusive mastery of meter—does any other American these days write better iambic pentameters? He also usually writes in forms, as simple as blank verse, as intricate as villanelles and variously rhymed tercets, and as a form demands, rhyme, though using assonance and/or consonance more than full homophony. This doctor-poet is as careful in his avocation as his poems imply he is in his vocation."

    "Campo's distinguished career as a writer and aptly named 'poet-physician' spans more than two decades and is wonderfully represented here in this streamlined new volume that focuses on the writer's gay life and clinical career. . . . Fans of Campo's work will find much to savor in this treasury from a physician with his heart in all the right places."

    "A powerful collection of this masterful poet’s work. . . . he poems in this collection vary into celebrations of family and heritage alongside lush poems of love and the erotic. And always regardless of the poem’s obvious concern is the poet’s attention to the body in the poem; the doctor perhaps always at work at the hospital but also at the page. Campo’s careful and precise depictions of our mortality not only in harrowing moments of medical crisis but also in the ecstatic moments of human connection serve as testimony to our human condition."

    Reviews

  • "In every poem, as in his and our lives generally, the world goes reeling around him, and regardless of whether he has a good bedside manner, he’s a compelling companion in verse. His poetic success depends on an unobtrusive mastery of meter—does any other American these days write better iambic pentameters? He also usually writes in forms, as simple as blank verse, as intricate as villanelles and variously rhymed tercets, and as a form demands, rhyme, though using assonance and/or consonance more than full homophony. This doctor-poet is as careful in his avocation as his poems imply he is in his vocation."

    "Campo's distinguished career as a writer and aptly named 'poet-physician' spans more than two decades and is wonderfully represented here in this streamlined new volume that focuses on the writer's gay life and clinical career. . . . Fans of Campo's work will find much to savor in this treasury from a physician with his heart in all the right places."

    "A powerful collection of this masterful poet’s work. . . . he poems in this collection vary into celebrations of family and heritage alongside lush poems of love and the erotic. And always regardless of the poem’s obvious concern is the poet’s attention to the body in the poem; the doctor perhaps always at work at the hospital but also at the page. Campo’s careful and precise depictions of our mortality not only in harrowing moments of medical crisis but also in the ecstatic moments of human connection serve as testimony to our human condition."

  • “Rafael Campo is one acquainted with the night—in detail. Wrestling with the lives and deaths of patients who are always individuals to him, and with his own personal blend of body and soul, love and guilt, compassion and exhaustion, fighting pain with the magnificent weaponry of language and cadence, in poem after poem he says to us what he cannot say to the man in the bed: ‘You’re crying, just like me; you are alive.’” — Alicia Ostriker, author of, Waiting for the Light

    “The poems of Rafael Campo bear witness to human suffering and transform that witness into art, yet never exploit the suffering or sacrifice the art. Indeed, this is an unflinching eye, seeing what most of us would rather not see. Listen to the beating heart of these poems, the breathing lungs of these poems. The luminous language and the luminous vision offer proof that poetry, too, is a healing art, that storytelling is medicinal. In these times, we need poets of eloquent empathy more than ever, and there is no poet more eloquent or empathetic than Rafael Campo.” — Martín Espada, author of, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed

    Comfort Measures Only is the exploration of the sonic life of the body synthesized through the pumping amplifier of left and right ventricle. These nearly two hundred pages of twenty years of poetic witness provide a human swallowing test: How hard can we bite down on bone and not break a tooth? How much rose water and blood can we take in without drowning? Rafael Campo believes grace and levitation are possible until the last breath.” — Nikky Finney, author of, The World is Round

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  • Description

    In Comfort Measures Only, Rafael Campo bears witness to the unspeakable beauty bound up with human suffering. Gathered from his over twenty-year career as a poet-physician, these eighty-nine poems—thirty-one of which have never been previously published in a collection—pull back the curtain in the ER, laying bare our pain and joining us all in spellbinding moments of pathos. The poet, who is also truly a healer, revives language itself—its sounds channeled through our hearts and lungs, its rhythms amplified through the stethoscope—to make meaning of our bewilderment when our bodies so eloquently and yet wordlessly fail us. Campo’s transcendent poems, in all their modernity amidst the bleep of heart monitors and the wail of ambulance sirens, remind us of what the ancients understood: that poetry sustains us, and whether we live or die, through what we can imagine and create in our shared voices we may yet achieve immortality.

    About The Author(s)

    Rafael Campo is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of several books, including Alternative Medicine, The Enemy, and Landscape with Human Figure, all also published by Duke University Press, and The Desire to Heal: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry.
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