On Shaving Off His Face

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The Porcupine's Quill, Apr 15, 2015 - Poetry - 112 pages

The human face is many things. It is a photograph, an identity, a disguise. It is pain’s currency. It is proof of life and death.

In his latest collection, On Shaving Off His Face, poet-physician Shane Neilson presents an album of faces, word portraits of maladies both physical and mental. Illness is acknowledged in the epileptic convulsions of a beloved son—and in the narrator’s pain-stricken reflection in a mirror. Psychiatry, medicine and religion are questioned, doubted, and finally accepted in terms of resistance. Famous clinicians speak alongside school shooters, depressed musicians, and a grieving father.

Raw, intense and unsettling, Neilson’s poems reveal and probe the ways in which we are recognized and categorized by those who interpret the maladies written on our faces.


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On Shaving O His Face

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About the author (2015)

Shane Neilson is a family physician who published his first trade book of poems, Meniscus, with Biblioasis in 2009. In addition to several collections of poetry, Neilson has published in the genre of memoir, short fiction, biography and literary criticism, and his work has been widely anthologized in poetry, nonfiction, and medical journals. In his medical doctor and writing practices, he focuses on mental illness, pain, and disability. He currently acts as editor for Victoria, B.C. publisher Frog Hollow Press. Though he currently lives in Oakville, Ontario, all of his work is rooted in rural New Brunswick.

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