Twelve Breaths a Minute
End of Life Essays
Publication Date: June 2011
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Twelve Breaths a Minute—the latest collaboration between SMU Press and the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, with the support of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation—features twenty-three original, compelling personal narratives that examine the way we as a society care for the dying. Here a poet, a former hospice worker, reflects on death’s mysteries; a son wanders the halls of his mother’s nursing home, lost in the small absurdities of the place; a grief counselor struggles with losing his own grandfather; a medical intern traces the origins of time and the quality of our final days; a mother anguishes over her decision to turn off her daughter’s life support and allow her organs to be harvested; and an emergency dispatcher tries to quantify what a stranger’s death should mean.
Lee Gutkind, founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, has written books about baseball, health care, travel, and technology. He teaches at Arizona State University. Francine Prose is the author of many bestselling books, including Blue Angel, a National Book Award finalist, and her latest nonfiction work, Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife.
Twelve Breaths a Minute: End-of-Life Essays captures the experiences of family members, doctors, caregivers and others who have learned valuable lessons from witnessing life's final moments. More at NPR.org
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