Required Reading


November 2011

This Month's Featured Title

Beauty is a Verb

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Beauty is a Verb
The New Poetry of Disability

by Sheila Black

Beauty is a Verb is the first of its kind: a high-quality anthology of poetry by American poets with physical disabilities.  Poems and essays alike consider how poetry, coupled with the experience of disability, speaks to the poetics of each poet included. The collection explores first the foremothers and forefathers whose poems had a complex (and sometimes absent) relationship with disability, such as Vassar Miller, Larry Eigner, and Josephine Miles. It continues with poets who have generated the Crip Poetics Movement, such as Petra Kuppers, Kenny Fries, and Jim Ferris. Finally, the collection explores the work of poets who don’t necessarily subscribe to the identity of "crip-poetics," and have never before been published in this exact context. These poets include Bernadette Mayer, Rusty Morrison, Cynthia Hogue, and C. S. Giscombe. The book crosses poetry movements—from narrative to language poetry—and speaks to and about a number of disabilities including cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, Multiple Sclerosis, and aphasia due to stroke, among others. This is a great choice for all levels of literature and poetry students, from freshman level up to graduate level courses. It works not only as an introduction to the poetry of disability but to a complicated vision of identity and identity poetry.

About the Editors

Sheila Black is the author of over 40 books for children and young adults, as well as the author of two poetry collections and two chapbooks. She was born with X-Linked Hypophosphotema (XLH), a rare genetic bone condition, often called Vitamin D Resistent Rickets.

Jennifer Bartlett was a 2005 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. Her publications include Derivative of the Moving Image (UNM Press 2005), (a) lullaby without any music (Chax 2011), and Anti-Autobiography (Saint Elizabeth Street/Youth-in-Asia Press 2010). She was born with cerebral palsy.

Michael Northen edits Wordgathering, A Journal of Disability and Poetry, and coordinates the annual Inglis House Poetry Contest for disability-related poetry. For over 40 years, he has taught adults with physical disabilities, women on public assistance, prisoners, and rural and inner city children.


Praise for Beauty is a Verb

"[Beauty is a Verb] is going to be one of the defining collections of the 21st century … the discourse between ability, identity & poetry will never be the same." —Ron Silliman

Other Titles in Poetry
Here, Bullet Upgraded to Serious The Sorrow Gondola The Hands of Strangers

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