In Hospice Bed Conversations, Alan Harris writes about rooms named after trees rather than numbers, a pearl necklace worn to breakfast, Heaven’s waiting room, memory sticks, Life in the Past Lane, and death’s apprentice in a grocery store smock. These poems speak about life and what comes at the end of life with resilience, humor and grace. Once started reading, I could not put this small volume down but read it straight through. As a first book, it is a significant achievement and Harris a poet to be recognized.
—Rosalie Sanara Petrouske, author of What We Keep
These poems are a celebration of the moments that make us human, our dignity, our frailties, our loves, our individuality, our memories. Alan Harris offers us a gift in this chapbook: the hope that we ourselves are treasures and treasured—that we too, did not live in vain.
—Laura M Kaminski, author of Anchorhold, 19 Ghazal Street, & And Yes, I Dance
Alan Harris’s poems from the hospice bedside will shatter you over and over again for the moments they memorialize and for all the moments we become aware of through his attentive craft that we ourselves have lost—all the stories of our loved ones we didn’t capture before it was too late. In this series of strong lyric poems he unflinchingly surveys the circumscribed landscape of the sick room: its brutal economics, the subtle and overt changes that materially signal our deaths sometimes long before we actually depart, the disappointments of medicine and unravelling relationships. Hospice Bed Conversations is a manifesto for end-of-life autonomy and dignity, and Harris reminds us that one of the most humanizing and respectful things we can do is listen and empathize with others, especially when they make their turn toward death.
—Caroline Maun, Associate Professor of English at Wayne State University and
author of What Remains