Half of Courage is Rage by Sara Backer

We like our illness poets to sound resigned, beaten, accepting, and wise. No accurate melodramatic descriptions of poo or pus or puke: we don’t want to see the face of your suffering we want your illness to be symbolic of something larger, such as the Calvinist-rooted discrimination against the ill or the Capitalist cruelty of health care for-profit your moral and mental weakness. No anger or self-pity! your poems, like your illness, can’t be just about you and the millions of other incurables who could be living more worthwhile lives if they could afford treatment. We want you to make death easier for us, inspire us with your pointless pain courage.


Sara Backer’s first book of poetry, Such Luck (Flowstone Press 2019) follows two chapbooks: Scavenger Hunt (dancing girl press) and Bicycle Lotus (Left Fork). She lives in New Hampshire.

Photo by Umberto