Connoisseurs of Suffering is a powerful collection of poems exploring the potential meanings in suffering. Suffering is an inevitable part of life and, perhaps, a necessary one: if we love enough, we eventually experience loss and get hurt. The choice is not between suffering and not suffering so much as between suffering for something and suffering for nothing. The poets featured in Connoisseurs of Suffering have chosen the former path—to suffer for something—and have found meaning through the pain they endured and, in some cases, continue to endure. These poets have chosen to courageously share the wisdom and grace that has emerged from their pain.
The contributors to Connoisseurs of Suffering include award-winning poets and authors as well as psychologists and other mental health workers. The poems are powerful, provocative, and often quite raw with pain and meaning. While the poems will not alleviate your suffering, they will help you feel less alone. As Dave Elkins wisely says in the Foreword, “Life is indeed difficult but it’s a whole lot better when we listen, really listen, to one another’s pain… and care.”