When Tawn Parent’s son was suddenly stricken with cancer at the age of 15, it shattered her family’s world. Writing proved a way for her to try to process and make sense of the experience. Ultimately, she chronicled her journey alongside her son from his diagnosis until a year after treatment ended. This book is the result. She hopes it may comfort others who have loved a child with a serious illness.



Advance praise for The Wrong Place:

Tawn Parent’s powerful new collection of poetry, The Wrong Place, takes us on a terrifying journey no one ever wants to take. Yet her language of careful understatement and humility and her final insights that lead to a certain wisdom, make us all the better for having done so. This is an important book that needs to be read.

— Matthew Graham, author of The Geography of Home and 2020-23 Indiana State Poet Laureate


In The Wrong Place, Tawn Parent does what she must do: Tell the compelling story of her teen son’s treacherous cancer journey and hers as a mother by his side. “Is this my son…” she asks, “this teen…/cruising toward adulthood/suddenly entered freefall/ and landed back in my arms.” From the moment he wakes with pain to numerous treatments later, she immerses you in their lives, teetering on tears (“What’s oncology?” he asked) to welcoming relief and joy: “Here is the bell,” the nurse says, “Come ring it!” In Parent’s book, you are in the right place for insightful poems of courage and hope.

— Bonnie Maurer, author of The Reconfigured Goddess, Poems of a Breast Cancer Survivor


Tawn Parent’s The Wrong Place is required reading for anyone who has been touched by cancer. Parent’s heartfelt poems follow her journey through her young son’s diagnosis and how it affects her and her family, like when she discovers the side effects of “the five drugs/with their unpronounceable names” that may produce “red urine, red sweat … red tears” and she tries to “picture my son with red tears/coursing down his cheeks/It sounds like a horror movie.” She also learns “Parenting a child with cancer/has meant throwing out/so many rules…,” and shares with us about the first difficult Christmas. But through it all, Parent never loses her defiant humor or her unyielding hope in writing about such a difficult subject and in turn gives others a glimpse of how to cope with something so unthinkable as a child with cancer.

— Lylanne Musselman, author of It’s Not Love, Unfortunately and Staring Dementia in the Face

See these short video clips from a reading at the Artsgarden

Artsgarden Videos

You can order "The Wrong Place" through June 15 for the discounted advance price of $20.99.

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