Category: Book Buzz
Published: 24 February 2014
Regarding My Son by Sonia Usatch-Kuhn
Finishing Line Press
Available for pre-order from the publisher
"Sonia Usatch-Kuhn's memorable chapbook, Regarding My Son, is the odyssey of a mother and son through and beyond the 'barren pit' of schizophrenia. The mother-speaker is habitually, often desperately, 'frozen outside' of her beloved son's 'blackened confusion,' herself at every moment about to detonate. In prayerful language, at once poised at the brink of desperation and dogged hope—without a whit of sentimentality, cold-eyed, often fierce, always permeated with love—Usatch-Kuhn inches the reader ever closer to the stunning feat that only poetry can achieve—the ultimate triumph of recovery: 'I open my eyes / caress your cheek / weave you whole again.' These poems brave utterance in face of the direst odds. Such courage."
—Joseph Bathanti, Poet Laureate of North Carolina
"Sonia Usatch-Kuhn has created a heartbreaking—and ultimately, heartwarming—portrait of a mother's love for her son, the loss that she endures as a result of his schizophrenia, and, finally, hope for the future. As the book unfolds, we travel with this mother into the recesses of her son's illness; we visit him in the psych unit, where she writes, 'I look for promise…' We cheer for him as he comes home on a day pass, laugh when he cracks a joke, and understand when, in 'The Untying,' she writes: 'I have been pregnant/too long with you….' There are ample rewards here for the reader, none more moving than the final poem, 'The Reward,' in which a jagged timeline is presented, from the depths of 1978 to the joy of the son's college graduation in 2012. Haunting and memorable, this book deserves a wide audience."
—Judy Goldman, author of Losing My Sister
“In Regarding My Son, Sonia Usatch-Kuhn portrays a mother’s emotional journey into her son’s schizophrenic world. She accompanies her son faithfully, no matter how distant he seems or how disheveled he becomes, hoping always 'to weave you whole again,' until at last he emerges with her into a new world of light and language and love. Usatch-Kuhn’s poems shoot straight to the heart, each one a tiny, but crystal clear, window into her years of disappointment, pain, endurance, faith, and ultimately her joy as her son achieves 'affection / self-reliance / independence / leadership…' These are strong poems, spoken with a powerful and distinctive voice.”
—Jack Coulehan, MD, author of Bursting With Danger and Music
Regarding My Son is a journey in poetry about my son's diagnosis of schizophrenia through his recovery and college graduation in 2012. The poems deal with the issues of my observations of the hospital wards, the pain, hopelessness, stigma, hope, fear, wonder, frustration, doubt, and the process toward recovery as we took the path hand in hand.
Sonia Usatch-Kuhn, in facing the blank page, found release for the myriad feelings she experienced when her son Lance was diagnosed with schizophrenia thirty-five years ago. She is grateful to him for generously agreeing that these poems be shared. Some have appeared in The Journal of Poetry Therapy, Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making, on the CD Woman In Darkness, The Best of Raleigh Reading Series, and The Best of Fuquay-Varina Reading Series. Main Street Rag and What the Fiction Journal published short stories. She authored Noodle Kugel & Life’s Other Meichels, compiled and edited Living in the Rooms of our Lives, and The Book of Asher: Memoirs of a Passionate Jewish Life. She taught Healing & Madness at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine. Sonia has garnered praise for her portrayal of characters on Community Theater stages.