"I'm going to get you, my pretty!" The enigmatic Sick Witch lures the narrator on a metaphoric/literal vision quest through the hallucinatory terrain of undiagnosed and undiagnosable medical disorders in poems that playfully explore connections between physical and mental illness. Compelling "fever dreams" tackle disorders, from allergy to somnambulism, from retinal detachment to schizophrenia, from avian flu to ALS, beyond the insular country of the sickbed. Allusion becomes illusion in the blink of an eye, both in the sharp images and also with insight, revelation, confusion and fear, with a supposed control that advances then recedes then does it again and again. Here are tales both grim and Grimm, complemented by "lessons" from other patients, and leavened through a series of Letters to an Insurance Adjuster, who may or may not be a good wizard. Disquieting images from myth and pop culture compel the reader to join in the dance down the yellow brick road. X may mark the spot, but is it malignant? Or does it lead to Health?
CRYSTAL HURDLE teaches English and Creative Writing at Capilano University in North Vancouver, B.C. In October 2007, she was Guest Poet at the International Sylvia Plath Symposium at the University of Oxford, reading from her After Ted & Sylvia: Poems (Ronsdale, 2003). Teacher's Pets, a teen novel in verse, was published in 2014. She lives in Vancouver, B.C. Visit her at www.crystalhurdle.ca.