Cold Knife Surgery

by Suzette Bishop





36 pages (1998)

trade paper, saddle-stitched

ISBN 1-891387-00-6



About the Book

In this comprehensible poem based on her experience surviving cancer, Suzette Bishop has created a powerful book of healing. She tells us her story through the mind's eye of a young woman who "senses she is invisible to a system that has based its research primarily on male anatomy, that is profit-driven, and invasive." Cold Knife Surgery reads as real and surreal introspective deliberations as she sorts out medical and financial obstacles, fear, and frustration. Remarkably, she responds to situations without hostility, anger, or bitterness. Her healing is rooted in learning, personal growth, and self-esteem. The harshness of her external world is transformed by her sensitivity and grace. 



David Castleman, Mandrake Poetry Review, Volume III, Numbers 2 & 3, 1999
"Throughout her ordeal this woman replayed her identity through her memory, revivifying the virtual circumstances of her existence from earliest childhood through these latest rememberings, as she struggled to discover some legitimate reason to attempt to cope, and thereby to cope. She writes clearly, excellently, and says what must be said."

Michael Basinski, Lucid Moon, July 1999
"...Bishop's poetic journey is a story larger than its original intention. The poem transcends and becomes art."

Gordon Hilgers, The Word: Monthly Guide to the Arts in Dallas, May 1999
"Cold Knife Surgery wasn't simply an academic exercise or a self-indulgent excursion. It was, and is, what was gained. It, in a word, is your soul."

Grace Cavalieri, host of "The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress" 
"What a book. I read it cover to cover. ...Cold Knife Surgery is a hot, touching book of power and elegance." 

Blair Ewing, Wordhouse: Baltimore Writer's Alliance News, December 1998 
"Bishop carefully weaves her poem together, interpolating personal narrative with dreams, and demonstrates a wide tonal range. [Cold Knife Surgery]... has the ring of truth, and it is beautifully written." 



Excerpt from the long poem Cold Knife Surgery


. . .


There is a dream about wedding rings.


People keep telling me there's nothing wrong with me.



My father tells me I should have a job instead of being in graduate school, and he refuses to help me with the medical bills.             I break off all

contact with him.


Three women are building a house for themselves. They have put down the foundation and are dancing in this area.



The bride stands at the end of the aisle            she listens to voices behind her     afraid they'll catch her and stop her

she runs down the aisle     her long veil     longer than the      aisle

       streams out in gauzy waves behind her.


. . .




Copyright 1999 by Red Dragon Press. All rights reserved.