Thank you Jonathan Taylor at “Everybody’s Reviewing for such a thoughtful and intelligent review of John Mills’ No Guiding Star in which he discusses the poetry of John Mills alongside the great neurologist Oliver Sachs – here is an excerpt:
What Sacks emphasises above all is that doctors – and, by extension, the wider public too – need to encounter the sufferer of neurological illness as an ‘individual,’ as a ‘“who” as well as a “what,” a real person.’ The Parkinsonian is not ‘only’ a Parkinsonian for Sacks, but also an individual, whose existence is not defined entirely by illness, who has a life beyond that illness. Mills’s pamphlet once again enacts Sacks’s theory, by featuring beautiful poems about pot-holing, blackberrying, and familial grief, alongside the poems about Parkinson’s disease. Mills’s pamphlet hence not only allows the reader to share and understand that disease ‘in a sympathetic and imaginative encounter,’ but also to share and understand the person beyond the disease. Whether or not some of the experiences of the person beyond, in pot-holing, for example, have things in common with the experience of Parkinsonism – whether or not they share certain imagery with the illness and its symptoms – is left to the reader to decide.
just blackness and a tunnel
you wear like a straitjacket.