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July 13, 2011
It’s not often you read a book that’s written especially for you. But a new book called No-Sugar Added Poetry speaks directly to people with diabetes, because it’s written by 26 people who live with diabetes every day.
These poems are touching and sorrowful, and at the same time intriguing and informative. I have been a diabetes writer and educator for about seven years, but this book showed me more than I knew about the every day, every minute relationship people have with diabetes. The poets reveal the thoroughness with which diabetes becomes part of you and changes your life. To be honest, they gave me new insight into how thoroughly multiple sclerosis has affected my life.
The poems are broken into four sections: After Diagnosis, Loss, Healing, and Acceptance. One of the first Diagnosis poems is “Partial Definition,” by J. Davis Harte, who was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 4. It begins,
which I thought was a powerful way of describing the impact of a diabetes diagnosis on a child.
Most of the poetry is by people with Type 1, but there is a fair sampling of poets with Type 2 and other types. Because few are professional writers, the quality is uneven, but some of the work has great power, because it is so immediately in the moment. “Three A.M., Fifty-Four Milligrams Per Deciliter” by J. Goodman describes a late night hypo episode, from the inside. It starts:
Some poems reveal emotions most of us would rather deny, like Katherine Marple’s “Needle Disease.”
No-Sugar Added Poetry is the inspiration of Dr. Sohair Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian pediatric endocrinologist. She’s also an amazing photographer, judging by the pictures on her Web page. She must be an exceptional doctor, because she took time to participate in the social networking site TuDiabetes.org and made poetry a big part of it. She encouraged a poetry contest, which became the basis for the book. She contributed four poems to the “loss” section as well.
Under leadership of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, which sponsors TuDiabetes and its Spanish-language sister EsTuDiabetes.org, several volunteer editors selected these poems from the hundreds of entries in the poetry contests. They obtained money from Roche Diagnostics to produce the book.
It’s really worth reading. As Kerri Morrone Sparling wrote, “This book is proof that something truly beautiful can be born from adversity.”
You can order the book from the Diabetes Hands Foundation.
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