An Otherwise Healthy Woman


An Otherwise Healthy Woman

Amy Haddad

The Backwaters Prize in Poetry Honorable Mention Series

88 pages


March 2022


$15.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

March 2022


$15.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

March 2022


$15.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The poems in An Otherwise Healthy Woman delve into the complexity of modern health care, illness, and healing, offering an alternative narrative to heroics and miracles. Drawing on Amy Haddad’s firsthand experiences as a nurse and patient, the poems in this collection teach us to take a moment to stop and acknowledge the longing for compassion in each of us, what ought to be the immediate human response to suffering. The poet isn’t afraid to explore her own fears and failures or to find joy and humor in the many roles women play. An Otherwise Healthy Woman presents the intimate experiences of a nurse, the vulnerable perspective of a patient, and the lessons of caring for family.

Author Bio

Amy Haddad is professor emerita in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University. She is the author of the chapbook The Geography of Kitchens and has published poetry in a number of journals, including Aji Magazine, Persimmon Tree, and DASH Literary Journal. For more information about the author, visit


“A clear-eyed look at what it is to be on both sides of America’s health care system, this book of poems offers rare insight into the humanity of the health care professional and the humanity of the patient. Spare and truthful, sorrowful and wise, these poems are necessary in both their deep empathy and their fierce gaze into mortality.”—Ada Limón, author of The Carrying, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

“Amy Haddad’s poems impress and move as much for their implacable precision as their empathetic alertness to the variations of human pain in the twenty-first century, across a family, an individual life, a world. An Otherwise Healthy Woman is, as one of her poem titles tags it, a ‘hire-wire’ act, at once accomplished and devastating.”—Robert Polito, author of Hollywood and God

“The stories weave in and out with an incredible understatement that brings the stakes out to you like a slap.”—Matt Mason, Nebraska state poet

“Haddad’s poems are masterfully crafted and painfully honest—at moments, even harrowing. Yet here is a poet who, when the tension gets to be almost more than the reader can bear, offers up her own brilliant brand of comic relief. One of the strongest collections of poetry I have read in years.”—Cathy Smith Bowers, former poet laureate of North Carolina and author of The Abiding Image

Table of Contents

1. In the Clutch of a Rubber Band
Making Camp
The Day after Memorial Day
At Rehab
Home Assessment
Flipping Garlic Toast
From the Motel Window
Whole-Berry Cranberry Sauce
The Promises Women Make to Each Other
My Role as the Wife
The Fit of Suffering
2. What We Did on the Floor
A Guide to the Physical Exam
Blame Placing
Gallows Humor
Second-Degree Block
The White Stucco House
Families Like This
The Course of Leukemia
Day’s End at the Farmer’s Market in Montparnasse
Ten Items or Less
3. Cut along the Lines
Stereotactic Biopsy
Nuclear Bone Scan
An Otherwise Healthy Woman
Chemotherapy Lounge
Cat Scan
Chemotherapy Side Effects
French Weaving for Damages
Before- and After-Breasts
Dark Rides
High-Wire Act
New to the Joint
Ode to a Freckle above My Left Breast
Oarsmen at Chatou
Cut along the Lines
Jug Shots
Bottom of the Cup
The Commercial Version of Metastatic Breast Cancer

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