Laurel Books Poetry and Prose

Joan Sidney braids the challah of her own nerve cells diseased by MS and the emotions and sufferings imprinted in her by genes which were tossed in a pit in Zurawno, worked and starved to death in Auschwitz. If healing is the ultimate goal, then the speaker must acknowledge that healing begins in the hellish, shadowy past of her ancestors . . . These poems and memoir are all of a piece. They trace Joan Sidney’s journey to “live fully with happiness, love and suffering.” She must live with MS and the past until they are “as much a part of me as my breasts and belly—not an enemy to hate, fight against, and try to destroy.” This is, indeed, the wisdom of the body that grows in spirit even as it diminishes.
-Robert Cording, PhD


Elegy for the Floater is a memoir in verse, a story that demands us to “Listen . . . listen even closer” to its chain-laden body crash into a river, to a brother barking, a rapist’s dog, a knife-wielding mother’s “I’ll kill you.” Deftly weaving dialogue with startling images, statistics, and a variety of poetic forms, Teresa Carson’s Elegy echoes Randall Jarrell’s warning: “Pain comes from the darkness / And we call it wisdom. It is pain.” Thankfully, with Carson’s poems, there is also redemption and love, offering a fragile salve.
—Meg Kearney


In a sea of mediocre memoir, Marie Lawson Fiala’s magnificent, meticulous and utterly moving chronicle of her son’s combat with death shines like mother of pearl. Open your heart to this book. It’s that rare thing—an almost perfect read.
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, Author, The Deep End of The Ocean


This book is a celebration of the life of a little boy named Sam. The photographs could not be better or more poignant. Ms. Hutner’s poetry is not only moving, but is also that of a mother in profound grief over the greatest loss any of us can experience—the loss of a child. As an expression of personal feeling and memories, this book has no peer.
—Eric F. Grabowski, MD, Sc.D.Attending Pediatrician, Mass General Hospital for ChildrenAssociate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA



Mark Nepo’s poems challenge us to consider the therapeutic possibilities of language. Heart to heart, soul to soul . . . Nepo takes us on an unforgettable healing journey, revising medicalized pathology reports and their dire prognoses into a deeply humane narrative of suffering, forgiveness, and ultimately triumph. Surviving Has Made Me Crazy—yes, for love, for life, and for the unthinkable prospect of solace and peace.
—Raphael Campo 


To the Marrow is Robert Seder's intimate and searing journal of his five-year journey through a bone marrow transplant…The book is profound, not because Robert has died, but because any time a human being opens the door between life and death . . . we see and hear things briefly with an echo of the gods who normally stay out of view. It is up to us whether we dismiss such illuminations or take them as the unseen bedrock of our days . . . Robert opens the most honest conversation with no one and everyone on what it means to be alive, and to love and be loved”
—Mark Nepo


Pam Wagner has an exquisite voice that is quite marvelous. With precise language, and using memories from childhood and her struggle as a diagnosed “mentally ill” woman, she provides a strong and effective mirror to herself and the rest of the world.
— Leonard Cirino, Pygmy Forest Press   


In the past, the few memoirs about children battling cancer dealt mostly with death and grief. This passionate retelling by a survivor’s mother is about the struggle to help shepherd her child out of illness, towards health and through survival.

Now that more children survive cancer, this passionate retelling by the survivor’s mother is required reading; the struggle of helping move the child out of illness.

Judith Hannan will be at The Corner Bookstore on February 23, 2012 for a reading of Motherhood Exaggerated.