I want to share this beautiful book of poetry for your consideration.  Written by a courageous woman, it embodies so much of the struggle we go through with a diagnosis of breast cancer.



by Jane Underwood

Blue Light Press, 2017


Jane Underwood’s poems gaze at a fragile world of kith and kin, delivery guys, infusion nurses, leaves plastered to a sidewalk, inscrutable dead parents, and even victims of terrorism, an ocean away. Forged in the aftermath of a metastatic cancer diagnosis, these intimate poems can’t help themselves: they keep stumbling into wonder, humor, absurdity, and tenderness, even in the most unpromising circumstances. Underwood knew just how quickly a life can become provisional, but while her poems look squarely at the body’s hard truths, they never stop cherishing the cracked world. The vision here is so precise, the ear so acute, with a sense of juxtaposition so nimble, that even at their darkest, these poems radiate beauty.

For Jane, writing was a completely immersive experience. No matter what was going on in her life she almost always wrote for at least ten minutes a day. She wrote through exhaustion, and panic and physical pain, and fog brain, and relief and despair and rage and merriment.

When Jane wrote everything fell away except the moment to momentness of the writing. For those ten minutes a day, creativity and Self had center stage. You can feel the joy of that in her writing.



As the founder of The Writing Salon, a unique creative writing school in San Francisco and Berkeley that she directed for 16 years, Jane Underwood was a beloved mentor for hundreds of Bay Area writers. Her poetry, essays and erotica appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, The Sun Magazine, and Best Women’s Erotica, and she was also a gifted photographer. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2005, she kept an online blog at “My Great Breast Cancer Adventure,” and returned to her early love of poetry with renewed purpose. The manuscript of this book was on her nightstand when she died in February, 2016.

For more about Jane, or for hi-resolution press photos, please contact Julie Bruck (co-editor with Karen Hildebrand of this collection): primateranch@gmail.com

For ordering info: Diane Frank: http://www.bluelightpress.com/