When poet and essayist Kenneth Sherman was diagnosed with cancer, he began keeping a notebook of observations that blossomed into this powerful memoir. With incisive and evocative language, Sherman presents a clear-eyed view of what the cancer patient feels and thinks. His narrative voice is personal but not confessional, practical but not cold, thoughtful and searching but not self-pitying or self-absorbed.
The author’s wait time for surgery on a malignant tumour was exceptionally long and riddled with bureaucratic bumbling; thus he asks our health-care providers and administrators if our system cannot be made efficient and more humane. While he is honest about what is good and bad in our system, he is not stridently political or given to directing blame. His narrative is interwoven with engaging ruminations on the meaning of illness in society, and is peppered with references to other writers’ thoughts on the subject. A widely published poet, Sherman helps the reader understand the deep connection between disease and creativity—the ways in which we write out of our suffering. Wait Time will be of special interest to anyone facing a serious illness as well as to health-care providers, social workers, and psychologists working in the field. Its thoughtful observations on health, life priorities, time, and mortality will make it of interest to all readers.
About the author
Kenneth Sherman was born in Toronto in 1950. He has a BA from York University, where he studied with Eli Mandel and Irving Layton, and an MA in English Literature from the University of Toronto. While a student at York, Sherman co-founded and edited the literary journal Waves. From 1974--1975 he travelled extensively through Asia. He is a full-time faculty member at Sheridan College where he teaches Communications; he also teaches a course in creative writing at the University of Toronto.
In 1982, Sherman was writer-in-residence at Trent University. In 1986 he was invited by the Chinese government to lecture on contemporary Canadian literature at universities and government institutions in Beijing. In 1988, he received a Canada Council grant to travel through Poland and Russia. This experience inspired several of the essays in his book Void and Voice (1998). Sherman, author of the acclaimed Words for Elephant Man, and The Well: New and Selected Poems, lives in Toronto with his wife, Marie, an artist.
- Long-listed, RBC Taylor Prize
Wait Time, by noted Canadian poet Ken Sherman, is an honest, clear-sighted, humorous and at times eloquent entree into [the category of cancer memoir], not any less gripping because of a happy ending. (He survives.)"
The National Post