Constance Studer

Prayer To A Purple God

Mellen Poetry Press, 1996, 2004.

"Each poem in Prayer To A Purple God resonates in primal intensity and regard. Each poem focuses on a health emergency, the body's vulnerability, the acts of doctors and nurses, and the vivid inner perceptions of those involved. Simultaneously, astonishingly, all are painted in terms of larger contexts and presences of earth. In the critical care unit, one patient is half woman and half bird, one crawls across the glass in an aquarium like a snail, one has a torch in his skull, one has a physician illuminate "her arteries and shelves/of bone in a ruby gloom, one is held/within white-curved wings." Though grounded in the profound struggles and emotions of the hospital, many of these poems are reminiscent of Neruda's odes in how they focus and yet open through metaphor and association. This is one powerful, compassionate and unique book of poems."
--James Grabill, author of Poem Rising Out of the Earth, Oregon Book Award for Poetry, 1995.

Selected Works

Creative nonfiction-Essays
Body Language: First of All Do No Harm
Body Language is a wake-up call to American medical professionals to rethink the Hippocratic dictum: "First of all, do no harm." Studer uses her family's stories to illustrate larger ethical dilemmas in which modern medicine is embroiled. Medical treatments are given with the presumption they will help, but her father's prefrontal lobotomy caused irreversible brain damage. Studer's Hepatitis B immunization caused systemic lupus. There are studies showing a link between the autism epidemic and the use of thimerosol as a preservative in vaccine preparation.
Prayer To A Purple God
"These are sharp-edged, dark poems that speak a dangerous truth about the health of humans in these hard times of our earth. They reflect the changed landscape, the changed life of the body of woman, the body of God, the body of this land with its newly hazardous terrain. Yet there is light here, water, air, prairie grasses, and heart. These are poems to pay attention to, about what it means when health slips like a ring from earth's finger."
--Linda Hogan, author of Solar Storms, Dwellings, A Spiritual History of the Living World and The Book of Medicines.


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