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Registration is now open for the Zoom book launch for Brad Buchanan's book LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE: HOW I STOPPED FIGHTING CANCER AND STARTED HEALING, published on June 11, 2021 by Armin Lear Press. The launch, hosted by Capital Books on K in Sacramento, will happen on June 24 from 3-4 p.m. Pacific time, and will feature Brad's discussions with Jackie Foster of NMDP/Be The Match, Dr. Joseph Tuscano of UC Davis, and Dr. Emily Hopewell of Indiana University. Register here, and stay tuned for more details about ordering the book!

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Brad Buchanan's latest book, LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE: HOW I STOPPED FIGHTING CANCER AND STARTED HEALING, is now available from and Barnes and Noble.


If you suffered from an acute or chronic disease, wouldn’t you want to know as much about it as possible? If that disease were graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), you would have great difficulty in finding a readable, relatable account of its physical, psychological and emotional consequences, since there are no current books that combine a synoptic account of GvHD symptoms and treatments with a patient’s own story of survivorship. A 70,000 word personal narrative enriched with medical information, LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE: HOW I STOPPED FIGHTING CANCER AND STARTED HEALING, fills a huge gap in current health and wellness literature. It tells the story of the author’s survival against the odds, outlines his sometimes rocky path to long-term recovery, and offers unique and important insights into acute and chronic GvHD. Using poetry as a touchstone, it draws on the author’s own experiences as a two-time blood cancer survivor and stem-cell transplant recipient to encourage GvHD patients to move beyond the “warrior” mentality promoted by much of the current cultural discourse surrounding disease, treatment, and survivorship. LIVING WITH GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST DISEASE also promotes a greater awareness of the unusual nature of GvHD itself, which often cannot be “defeated” or “beaten” in a traditional sense, since it has its roots in a genetic mismatch that, paradoxically, makes it effective in preventing cancer’s resurgence. It also advocates a full understanding of the current best practices in the treatment of GvHD, as well as an attitude of acceptance and emotional openness, in addition to the practice of writing as a self-healing activity.


While recovery from transplant is unique for everyone, first-hand experiences help to tear down the walls of isolation. We are incredibly grateful to people like Dr. Buchanan who share their personal story. His is both profound and relatable; written with humor, honesty and hope.

—Be The Match®

Brad Buchanan has produced a detailed narration of his personal battle with lymphoma and ultimately graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). He takes a no-holds-barred approach that leaves little to the imagination. His command of the language and mix of prose and poetry bring to life the good, the bad and the terrifying components of his journey with a rare and particularly intense form of GvHD.

—Joseph M. Tuscano, MD, Interim Director of Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Transplantation and deLeuze Endowed Professor of Medicine, UC Davis Cancer Center

Dr. Buchanan provides a frank and engaging account of his personal journey through blood cancer treatment and the repercussions of living with graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) as a result of that treatment. He unmasks both the physical and mental impact of GvHD on himself and his caregivers and provides a reminder that becoming cancer free is not always the end of the pilgrimage.

—Emily Hopewell, PhD, Director of Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University

Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) remains a significant cause of morbidity and non-relapse mortality for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). This book tells a story of courage and overcoming the formidable challenges of acute and chronic GvHD. It will help physicians, nurses, and scientists genuinely understand the story of patients’ difficulties living with GvHD. As a scientist working on uncoupling GvHD from GVL (graft-versus-leukemia), I encourage every citizen to read this book, which ought to convince our politicians and policymakers to support more research into GvHD.

—Dr. Mobin Karimi, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University


About Brad


Brad Buchanan was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and holds degrees in English from McGill University (BA 1994), the University of Toronto (MA 1995), and Stanford University (PhD 2001). He taught British and Postcolonial Literature, as well as Creative Writing, at Sacramento State University until his retirement due to disability in 2017. His poetry, fiction, and scholarly articles have appeared in more than 200 journals.

He was diagnosed with a rare form of T-cell lymphoma in February 2015 and, after chemotherapy and radiation treatments, underwent a stem cell transplant at the U.C. Davis Medical Center in 2016. He is a genetic chimera, since his DNA has been altered by his brother's life saving donation of stem cells. The stem-cell transplant, however, was a rocky one; it nearly proved fatal, and entailed 129 days in the hospital’s transplant unit, a significant loss of vision, and a lengthy recovery period at home. In late 2016 he was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma induced by the Epstein-Barr virus. After participating in a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering he was declared cancer-free in 2017, and is currently still in remission. He still suffers from chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGvHD), a consequence of his stem cell transplant. He lives in Sacramento, California with his wife and two daughters.

Brad currently co-facilitates two Zoom writing workshops for people dealing with illness, disability and recovery. The first workshop runs on second and fourth Saturdays from noon to 2pm for the Sacramento Society for the Blind. (Read more about the Society for the Blind workshop here.) The other runs every Wednesday from 6:30PM to 8:30PM through the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. (Read more about the UC Davis workshop here)


Brad Buchanan's most recent book of poems, THE SCARS, ALIGNED: A CANCER NARRATIVE (Finishing Line Press, 2019) is now on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "Living with Cancer" Suggested Reading List.

Forced to an intimacy with the body’s deep mechanisms, its betrayals and resilience, in The Scars, Aligned Brad Buchanan chronicles his battle with cancer, a journey through a personal hell where malady and cure sound alike. This powerful book offers an unflinching portrait of one man’s encounter with mortality, “the capital / T-cell truth.” In poems that convey a terrible urgency, we glimpse the daily struggle between fear and hope, the periods of crushing isolation, and the resulting questions of how does one keep hope alive, how does one survive? For Buchanan, the answer lies in the love of friends and family, and further, in conversation with his poetic forebears, in the redemptive power of language. For anyone who has ever questioned the utility of poetry, these poems stand defiant. In “Miracle,” the speaker recounts hearing about a woman whose infertility was cured by her treatment for ovarian cancer: “I listened dumbstruck / to her story / and wondered what / new birth / my sickness might / bring me.” The beautiful and moving poems of The Scars, Aligned are that birth, and it is miraculous.

—Joshua McKinney, author of Mad Cursive and The Novice Mourner

Brad Buchanan’s poems prove that reading and writing poetry can help us make sense of the senselessness of cancer.

—Susan Gubar, author of the column “Living With Cancer” in The New York Times (electronic edition)

Buchanan’s muscular third collection of poems, The Scars, Aligned, holds you in its fierce grasp as ruthlessly as the near-fatal lymphoma the speaker endures. This is not just a collection about a young father’s trial by cancer and his emergence back to the world of the living; this is a book where the power of mortality writes itself through the transfiguration of its human host. In ‘Thanksgiving,’ Buchanan writes, “yes/I will give this thanks/to cancer/for showing me/that something in nature/needs me to live out/its tragedy/more urgently than I could ever/live out my own truth/ in my own time…”  Thanks to Buchanan for letting us this close to such a searing truth.

—Julia Levine, author of Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight (LSU Press 2014), awarded the 2015 Northern California Book Award in Poetry

Brad Buchanan has written with fierceness, tenderness, bafflement, and frightening honesty about his own experience of cancer and the rounds of painstaking and painful treatment that brought him through it.…One of the great surprises and great pleasures of The Scars, Aligned is the intermittent presence of humour and wit, whether it is the delightful voice of scandalized literary authorities in “Acceptance Notice,” or a brilliant zeugma in “Vagal,” or the “unforgettable” comparison of first sex and first suppository in “Unforgettable,” or the supreme conceit that governs “A Cancer Patient’s Guide to Hockey.” The poet’s body is the subject and the display of these poems, but it is the enduring well-being of his mind that moves us most.

—Brian Trehearne, Professor of Canadian Literature, McGill University



Brad has published 3 books of poetry: THE MIRACLE SHIRKER (Poets Corner Press, 2005), SWIMMING THE MIRROR: POEMS FOR MY DAUGHTER (Roan Press, 2008), and THE SCARS, ALIGNED: A CANCER NARRATIVE (Finishing Line Press, 2019). He has also published THE WAR GROOM, a chapbook from Rattlesnake Press. His poems have been published in more than 200 journals worldwide, including Canadian Literature, ConvergenceThe Dalhousie Review, Eclectica, English Journal, Event, Grain, Levee, Mamazine.comMercutio Press, Minnetonka Review,  Mudlark, Pirene's Fountain, Rattlesnake Press, The Sacramento News & Review, The Seattle Review, and The Wisconsin Review. Recent pieces have also appeared in Cagibi, The Esthetic Apostle, The Indianapolis Review, Valiant Scribe, and Wordgathering. You can see Brad recite poems from "Notes from SHOAH" on Facebook. Brad's post-election poems about politics, protest, and the pandemic can also be seen on Facebook. You can hear him read his recent hockey poems on Soundcloud, where he was also interviewed for The Gateway by Howard Mitnick on U2's album The Unforgettable Fire.



Brad has published dozens of scholarly articles in journals such as the Journal of Modern Literature, Men and Masculinities, Notes and Queries, and Twentieth Century Literature as well as two scholarly books: HANIF KUREISHI: NEW BRITISH FICTION SERIES (Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2007), and OEDIPUS AGAINST FREUD: MYTH AND THE END(S) OF THE HUMAN IN TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE (University of Toronto Press, 2010). 

Brad contributed to and edited VISIONS OF JOANNA NEWSOM a book of art and essays devoted to the songs of the famed California harpist and singer/songwriter (Roan Press, 2010). Interested in a free electronic copy of this hard-to-find book? Email Brad for details.


Brad has also published the following blog entries about writing and reviews:

Blog post for University of Toronto Press on the process of turning his dissertation into a book.

Blog post for on how EMDR helped him to write about his writing about remission from cancer.

Blog post for Poets & Writers on the benefits of workshopping with the AWA (Amherst) method.

Essay entitled "I'm Done with Being a Cancer Survivor: What I am Now is a GvHD Patient" was published in Prometheus Dreaming.

Review of Ron Slate's THE GREAT WAVE on Gently Read Literature.


Brad's Likes and Recommendations:

I am very proud and excited that ALREADY TOAST: CAREGIVING AND BURNOUT IN AMERICA, an important and timely book written by a terrific writer named Kate Washington

(who happens to be my wife) is now available from This book details Kate's struggle with the medical establishment as my caregiver, draws on literary classics for points of comparison and contrast with her own experiences, and and offers a trenchant indictment of the sexism underlying the American dependence on unpaid female caregivers.

I was honored to write a blurb for Elizabeth Varadan's new chapbook, "SAUDADE." Please consider ordering your copy from Finishing Line Press today!

I was honored to write a blurb for Michelle A. Johnson's new chapbook, "MAN KILLS GIRLFRIEND OVER COLD SANDWICHES AND OTHER SAD TALES." Please consider ordering your copy from Finishing Line Press today!


Some people have been kind enough to say nice things about Brad's poetry:  THE GREAT AMERICAN PINUP



You can read an article about THE SCARS, ALIGNED published in East Sac News.

You can read an article about THE SCARS, ALIGNED published in The Ottawa Citizen.

You can read more about Brad's poetry up to April 2007 on his poetry blog, THE MIRACLE SHIRKER 

You can also read about his medical history on the blog he kept with his wife, Kate Washington, THE ASPIRING CHIMERA

You can see Brad reciting poems from THE SCARS, ALIGNED on the Facebook page he keeps for the book.

You can hear Brad reciting his poems on his Youtube channel and in other recorded performances: "From a Line By James Joyce,"