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Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic by Sarah James

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Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic is award-winning poet Sarah James’s exploration of 40 years living with type one diabetes, a life-threatening autoimmune condition that is now treatable, but remains incurable. The collection tracks her personal journey from diagnosis, age six, to adulthood, including the high and the low points, as well as the further long-term health risks lurking in the background. These are poems of pain, but also of love and beauty, taking in motherhood, aging and establishing self-identity in a constantly updating world. The route to some kind of acceptance and belonging may be troubled by ‘trying to escape’ but it also ‘holds | more light than your eye | will ever know’

‘Sarah James’ Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic compellingly conveys the journey of a life pervaded by type one diabetes and the myriad struggles of that hidden disability. It’s a world of sunlit fields and night sweats, “doorstep birdsong” and pricked fingertips, at once arduous and munificent. Always engaging and often moving, James’ poems deftly immerse as well as inform, urging a deep appreciation of life’s plenty, “breath[ing] in the sky.’ – Carrie Etter

“These poems speak with such urgency and humanity that we take the deeply researched science (and magic) in our stride, then get pulled up short by its failure to ‘make sense of unfairness’. It’s an exhilarating, poignant collection combining raw honesty with impressive craft. The way ‘the world shrinks’ in personal hardship and the sheer and constant work it takes to open it up again. I feel more awake and alive for reading it.” – Luke Kennard

“Sarah James’s fine poems are wonderfully abundant in experiment, energy, and expression. She has a remarkable sense for how the self-discipline of illness—like art—can release and shape the language of wonder, wisdom, and love.” – David Morley

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