Cohen Publishes ‘Chronic Progressive,’ the Journey of a Well Spouse

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 25, 2010

Marion D. Cohen, Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science and Mathematics Department, is a poet, writer and author whose writings are often inspired by math. Her just-released book, Chronic Progressive (Plain View Press), has “math poetry” in it, she says, “but its subject is my own odyssey of spousal chronic illness (multiple sclerosis), caregiving, and aftermath.”

“What is it like to be the well spouse of a man with multiple sclerosis, to care for someone who will not get better and whose chronic illness will progress into dementia? … Much of this work feels like it was written in the hard blue light of 3 a.m., letting us read the emotional weather of the journey, the way that only poetry can do,” says author Barbara Crooker. “Marion Cohen’s compact words and spare description resonate well with the well spouse’s efforts in the face of many challenges,” adds Richard Anderson, president of the Well Spouse Association.

Cohen has published 18 other books, including Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, Texas), poetry about the experience of mathematics, and Surviving the Alphabet, a poetry chapbook (Huge Pathetic Force, Pennsylvania). Other books are An Ambitious Sort of Grief (her pregnancy loss journal, from The Liberal Press, Texas), Epsilon Country, (poetry about being a well spouse, which is the spouse of someone who is chronically ill and/or disabled, from the Center for Thanatology Research, New York), The Weirdest Is the Sphere (her first chapbook, poetry about the experience of mathematics, from Seven Woods Press, New York), and Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse (Temple University Press, Pennsylvania).