Cures for Hysteria MaryAnn L. Miller Author
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MaryAnn L. Miller’s Cures for Hysteria brings together personal testimony and cultural history in a powerful examination of long-term misdiagnosis, medical arrogance, and anti-female bias. “I know where la belle indifference resides,” Miller writes. “It’s in those who won’t believe a female, / not even one they love.” Her poems create a moving portrait of a child who bears the condescension and incomprehension of professionals and a woman who faces a harrowing record of history that denies her experience. A vivid and original chronicle, Miller’s collection moves, in her beautiful words, “between the island of silence and the bridge of speech.”—Lee Upton, author of The Tao of HumiliationWhat if your body’s welfare was at the mercy of someone else’s theories and prejudices? Cures for Hysteria is a harrowing, bittersweet, and important collection that explores the consequence of misunderstood illness and undiagnosed disability. “…apply pressure to the woman’s head with your hands / don’t release her until she reveals the secret / hypnotize her to relieve the forgotten memory / to talk about dreams and fantasies of her father,” the title poem prescribes, before going on to admonish, “stay out of trouble / don’t be an inconvenience / don’t let your nipples show.” The gravitational pull of memoir is balanced by MaryAnn L. Miller’s considerable powers as a poet, evident in her lucid imagery and rhythmic phrasing, and her investigation of the larger radius of stories drawn from psychiatry, physiology, and art. This is a book of electric litanies; one of those books you will read, and read again. —Sandra Beasley, author of Count the Waves and I Was the JukeboxIn these splendid poems, Miller makes her own body powerfully vivid. She does it with precise metaphor and unusual sensuousness. Confronted with medical misogyny and misdiagnosis, she stares her doctors down with intelligence, passion and a very distinctive voice. Poems to read again and again.—Anne Kaier, author of Home with Henry


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