Wednesday, November 09, 2011


The New Poetry of Disability
by Sheila Black / Jennifer Bartlett / Michael Northen

  • Pub. Date: October 2011
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Format: Paperback , 326pp
  • ISBN-13: 9781935955054
  • ISBN: 1935955055

A ground-breaking anthology that brings fresh understanding to the American experience of poetry, beauty, the body, and disability.
[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

For the reader of good poetry interested in the diversity of American expression. The anthology provides an understanding of the history and contemporary vitality of the poetry and poetics of the non-normative body. Three sections—“Foremothers and Forefathers,” “The Disability Poetics Movement, and “A Language of New Embodiment”—gather the poems and statements on poetics together in a meaningful whole. 

"We share roots, and many stories, but our different twang, our own breath animates these stories, making them sing as they are compressed against our specific bodies. 'Going home'—who does not long for connection, location, a place? I want foreigners to see how our country lies and find familiar living tales, sung with a different melody."—Petra Kuppers

From "Beauty and Variations" by Kenny Fries:

How else can I quench this thirst? My lips

travel down your spine, drink the smoothness

of your skin. I am searching for the core:

What is beautiful? Who decides? Can the laws

of nature be defied? Your body tells me: come

close. But beauty distances even as it draws

me near. What does my body want from yours?

My twisted legs around your neck. You bend

me back. Even though you can't give the bones

at birth I wasn't given, I let you deep inside.

You give me — what? Peeling back my skin, you

expose my missing bones. And my heart, long

before you came, just as broken. I don't know who

to blame. So each night, naked on the bed, my body

doesn't want repair, but longs for innocence. If

innocent, despite the flaws I wear, I am beautiful.


Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, Norma Cole, John Lee Clark, Michael Davidson, Amber DiPietra, Kara Dorris, Jill Alexander Essbaum, Robert Fagan, Jim Ferris, Kenny Fries, Lisa Gill, C.S. Giscombe, Ona Gritz, Gretchen Henderson, Laura Hershey, Cynthia Hogue, Anne Kaier, Petra Kuppers, Stephen Kuusisto, Laurie Clements Lambeth, Alex Lemon, Denise Leto, Raymond Luczak, Bernadette Mayer, Rusty Morrison, Michael Northen, Danielle Pafunda, Susan Schweik, Hal Sirowitz, Ellen McGrath Smith, Dan Simpson, Brian Teare, Jillian Weise, Kathi Wolfe, and David Wolach.

For book tour dates, contributor links, videos and more, visit the Beauty is a Verb website:

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