Author silent no more
For more than four decades, author and poet Kim Goldberg remained silent.
Although she is a prolific writer and award-winning poet, she didn’t speak about a disease she lived with since she was a teenager. She contracted hepatitis C when she was younger and said she didn’t think she would see a cure in her lifetime. But participation in a clinical trial to cure her condition led to her breaking the silence in her latest self-published book Undetectable.
“There is a lot of stigma associated with hepatitis C,” said Goldberg. “It’s really a heavily stigmatized illness … many people do not know they have it.”
When she was visiting Island Health, a nurse told her about a clinical trial at the Liver Health Centre in Vancouver. She applied to the trial and was accepted.
“I was thrilled because there were only three seats,” she said.
Goldberg participated in the clinical trial and received the drug Harvoni.
According to CATIE, Canada’s Source for HIV and hepatitis C information, it is one of two medications approved in Canada for people with genotype 1 hepatitis C.
Goldberg’s journey in the clinical trial inspired her to write a poetry book. At the time, she was reading a translation of Matsuo Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior. Basho uses a Japanese literary style called haibun. A haibun is a travel diary and each entry is paired with a haiku.
She took on the new form in her book. For each day during the clinical trial she made an entry. The experience led her to wonder what else is silent or hidden.
“What else is undetectable? What else is the virus a metaphor for?” asked Goldberg.
Her poems cover a range of topics.
Goldberg’s book launch is Saturday (Feb. 27) at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library.
The event is free to attend and begins at 1 p.m. Copies of her book are $19 and can be purchased through her website.
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