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Diary of Our Fatal Illness

This moving prose poem tells the story of an aged man who suffers a prolonged and ultimately fatal illness. From initial diagnosis to remission to relapse to death, the experience is narrated by the man’s son, a practicing doctor. Charles Bardes, a physician and poet, draws on years of experience with patients and sickness to construct a narrative that links myth, diverse metamorphoses, and the modern mechanics of death. We stand with the doctors, the family, and, above all, a sick man and his disease as their voices are artfully crafted into a new and powerful language of illness.

64 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2017

Phoenix Poets



"Poet and physician Charles Bardes presents a work of prose poetry with elements of eulogy, ode, and tragedy as he follows his father's grievous two-year battle with cancer....In this challenging book of a father and son confronting disease and death, Bardes questions closely what it means for life to lend itself to death."


“In his Diary in the form of a prose poem, Charles Bardes traces the works and days of a twilit ordeal of love and suffering. With Ovidian power and moral clarity, he tells how a man of the sea is given over to fire and a father and son are annealed.”

Susan Stewart, author of Red Rover

“Fashioning a remarkable and truly original account of an octogenarian father’s two-year battle with cancer, Bardes tells a powerful, allusive, and richly layered human fable about our common and ‘fatal metamorphosis.’”

Michael Collier, author of An Individual History


University of West Georgia School of the Arts: Blackwell Prize in Writing

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