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Chosen by the American Library Association as a 2012 Notable Book in Poetry. Beauty is a Verb is a ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both. Crip Poetry. Disability Poetry. Poems with Disabilities. This is where poetry and disability intersect, overlap, collide and make peace. "[BEAUTY IS A VERB] is going to be Chosen by the American Library Association as a 2012 Notable Book in Poetry. Beauty is a Verb is a ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both. Crip Poetry. Disability Poetry. Poems with Disabilities. This is where poetry and disability intersect, overlap, collide and make peace. "[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, author of In The American Tree "This powerful anthology succeeds at intimately showing...disability through the lenses of poetry. What emerges from the book as a whole is a stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review 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. Sheila Black is a poet and children's book writer. In 2012, Poet Laureate Philip Levine chose her as a recipient of the Witter Bynner Fellowship. Disability activist Jennifer Bartlett is a poet and critic with roots in the Language school. Michael Northen is a poet and the editor of Wordgathering: A Journal of Poetics and Disability.


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Chosen by the American Library Association as a 2012 Notable Book in Poetry. Beauty is a Verb is a ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both. Crip Poetry. Disability Poetry. Poems with Disabilities. This is where poetry and disability intersect, overlap, collide and make peace. "[BEAUTY IS A VERB] is going to be Chosen by the American Library Association as a 2012 Notable Book in Poetry. Beauty is a Verb is a ground-breaking anthology of disability poetry, essays on disability, and writings on the poetics of both. Crip Poetry. Disability Poetry. Poems with Disabilities. This is where poetry and disability intersect, overlap, collide and make peace. "[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, author of In The American Tree "This powerful anthology succeeds at intimately showing...disability through the lenses of poetry. What emerges from the book as a whole is a stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review 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. Sheila Black is a poet and children's book writer. In 2012, Poet Laureate Philip Levine chose her as a recipient of the Witter Bynner Fellowship. Disability activist Jennifer Bartlett is a poet and critic with roots in the Language school. Michael Northen is a poet and the editor of Wordgathering: A Journal of Poetics and Disability.

30 review for Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability

  1. 4 out of 5

    knig

    I’ve been shismed in this cornucopia of raw human suffering, distilled to purple every crevasse of emotional fibre. Protean voices of raw anger and despair churn a bitter champagne of disconnect between mind and body, and in this tumultuous grappling for clarity and sanity, an altogether recombobulated , visceral Aphrodite is born. Pure mental torture to read. Alex Lemon’s mosquito You want evidence of the street fight? A gutter-grate bruise & concrete scabs— here are nails on the tongue, a mosaic of I’ve been shismed in this cornucopia of raw human suffering, distilled to purple every crevasse of emotional fibre. Protean voices of raw anger and despair churn a bitter champagne of disconnect between mind and body, and in this tumultuous grappling for clarity and sanity, an altogether recombobulated , visceral Aphrodite is born. Pure mental torture to read. Alex Lemon’s mosquito You want evidence of the street fight? A gutter-grate bruise & concrete scabs— here are nails on the tongue, a mosaic of glass shards on my lips. I am midnight banging against housefire. A naked woman shaking with the sweat of need. An ocean of burning diamonds beneath my roadkill,my hitchhiker belly fills sweet. I am neon blind & kiss too black. Dangle stars— let me sleep hoarse-throated in the desert under a blanket sewn from spiders. Let me be delicate & invisible. Kick my ribs, tug my hair. Scream You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone. Sing implosion to this world where nothing is healed. Slap me, I’ll be any kind of sinner.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    This book is rocking my world. As an anthology, it is so skillfully done--has several good, brief section introductions that introduce readers to some of the big concepts of disability studies and the history of the disability rights movement. And the poetry is STUNNING.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ely

    I think this is a really good introduction into disability poetry—there are lots of different poets and disabilities explored within. I've got this huge list of poets whose collections I want to read now that I probably wouldn't have found without this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    RUSA CODES

    Collection of poems and essays that provides insight into the lives of the estimated 50 million Americans with disabilities. For the complete list of 2012 Notable Books winners, please visit RUSA Awards 2012 Collection of poems and essays that provides insight into the lives of the estimated 50 million Americans with disabilities. For the complete list of 2012 Notable Books winners, please visit RUSA Awards 2012

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    3.5/5. Some poems I adored, some I hated; didn't engage with a lot of the essay commentaries but overall enjoyed perusing this volume of poems by disabled authors

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I learned about this book when I interviewed one of the editors and contributors for a class project. It was the first I had heard of a disability poetry movement, which bothered me because I have a Bachelors in English and a lifelong association with many different groups focused on disability rights. I should have known of this movement before, particularly given its historical sweep. The poems and the introductory pieces for each contributor were informative and challenging for me. Sometimes t I learned about this book when I interviewed one of the editors and contributors for a class project. It was the first I had heard of a disability poetry movement, which bothered me because I have a Bachelors in English and a lifelong association with many different groups focused on disability rights. I should have known of this movement before, particularly given its historical sweep. The poems and the introductory pieces for each contributor were informative and challenging for me. Sometimes the discussions, both in poetry and prose, were uncomfortably frank; often I was made aware of the distance between my experience and that of the poet. I am left with a great deal to ponder about life, poetry, disability, and the similarities and differences between individuals.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jinghua

    I wouldn't normally review something while I'm still reading it but I don't read poetry anthologies from start to finish (I've read the introduction and now I'm flicking back and forth through the poems and essays) and I wanted to recommend it to everyone. It's a really stunning collection. The introduction is food for thought; I think the editors have done an amazing job. I've already found a bunch of poets I want to read further (Ona Gritz is the only name I can remember without having the boo I wouldn't normally review something while I'm still reading it but I don't read poetry anthologies from start to finish (I've read the introduction and now I'm flicking back and forth through the poems and essays) and I wanted to recommend it to everyone. It's a really stunning collection. The introduction is food for thought; I think the editors have done an amazing job. I've already found a bunch of poets I want to read further (Ona Gritz is the only name I can remember without having the book in front of me but so many lines stand out).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    3.5. This was hard to rate--it's a poetry anthology about disabilities. Try as I might, I really have a hard time getting into poetry. However, I really enjoyed the essays by poets preceding the actual poetry.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Excellent

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    This collection of poems not only speaks to disabilities... but to the human experience

  11. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    An anthology one will want to take their time with, to truly observe the meaning and emotion in the printed words of the various open and raw authors, Jennifer Bartlett et. al.s "Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability" was a collection that challenged and changed (for the thoughtful and better) views of this able-bodied reader whom already encouraged this forwardness and self-acceptance in anyone around her. No ability or disability should or could be an exception to self compassion and An anthology one will want to take their time with, to truly observe the meaning and emotion in the printed words of the various open and raw authors, Jennifer Bartlett et. al.s "Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability" was a collection that challenged and changed (for the thoughtful and better) views of this able-bodied reader whom already encouraged this forwardness and self-acceptance in anyone around her. No ability or disability should or could be an exception to self compassion and honesty. The journey through each prose and statement was worth the change in point of view, even if some poems simply did not take. This was not due to what the poem was about, or a view of that particular author's experience, it was simply a preference to a form of literature over others that any reader feels or favors. However, I will say that the sheet of paper that I kept by my bed to mark down lines, page numbers, even a whole collection of essays or poems by certain authors in the book was closed to be completely tattooed in scribbles. While the list is long, I narrowed it down to three lines or poems/essays that stopped me in my tracks to take a much needed and reinvigorating breath: - "Reason" (67) by Josephine Miles. - "Listening Sideways to the Beat of a Poem" (217-21) and "Hummingbirds" (227) by Raymond Luczak. - "There was loss, and there was joy, and there was a state in which both of them were one." - Ellen McGrath Smith, "Afraid of the Rake"(286). If you wish to try this book, and to live with the lessons learned from its pages long after you return it to your local library, I would say go for it full steam ahead. It might not be all you expected, but I can assure you it will have something for everyone in its plethora of letters and numbers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I don't really have much by way of insightful or reflective commentary here besides that some poets' introductions resonated with me and some others did not, and this does not necessarily correlate to which poets' poetry resonated with me and which did not. It was uncommon that a poet's introductory essay to their work *and* their work really captivated me. Yet some of the remarks made about how oftentimes the pain of being viewed as 'disabled' is harder to handle that the pain incurred physiolog I don't really have much by way of insightful or reflective commentary here besides that some poets' introductions resonated with me and some others did not, and this does not necessarily correlate to which poets' poetry resonated with me and which did not. It was uncommon that a poet's introductory essay to their work *and* their work really captivated me. Yet some of the remarks made about how oftentimes the pain of being viewed as 'disabled' is harder to handle that the pain incurred physiologically by the disability are quite striking; the societal scaffolding that forces a medical impairment to a cultural label of 'dis-ability' is one that causes a lot of both overt and subtle pain, isolation, and prejudice that, for some of the writers here, eclipses the physical trouble. The kinds of conundrums these poets face about either evading, embracing, or representing a certain label or bloc of 'disabled' people and the disabled community are very interesting. Yet for whatever reason, I found a lot of the motivating principles for the works more 'elucidating' or 'interesting' than in any way compelling me to even understand, enjoy, or resonate with the poems themselves. Of course, there are winners and there are losers in every anthology, but I ultimately came away from reading this with more understanding and some great reading recommendations (I just checked out Anne Finger's books from the library). Looking forward to the corresponding fiction anthology, The Right to be Crippled and Naked.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Still digesting everything I’ve just read and will be for a while. But it’s not just poetry, each author introduces their work with a deep scholarly reflection on poetry and disability. And I’m struck by the career accomplishments of the wonderfully varied contributors. Absolutely dig into the profiles, footnotes and references. Won’t pretend to grok it all and some of the prose pieces are sometimes prone to (IMO) unnecessarily scholarly wordiness and intellectual convolution. But that doesn’t ma Still digesting everything I’ve just read and will be for a while. But it’s not just poetry, each author introduces their work with a deep scholarly reflection on poetry and disability. And I’m struck by the career accomplishments of the wonderfully varied contributors. Absolutely dig into the profiles, footnotes and references. Won’t pretend to grok it all and some of the prose pieces are sometimes prone to (IMO) unnecessarily scholarly wordiness and intellectual convolution. But that doesn’t make it any less profound an experience. For those of us who hunger to find and build disability community, culture and clan in our own private frontier, and perhaps in relative isolation fancied ourselves on the vanguard, it’s humbling to come upon these extraordinary minds long at work creating a rich and nuanced heritage of disability identity and peoplehood. I realize how much I have yet to learn and how glad I am for it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Neil Schleifer

    I found the poetry insightful and moving, but having purchased this online without having had the chance to see it before I bought it, I didn't realize that so much of the book would be scholarly analysis, considerably outbalancing the amount of space devoted to the poetry itself. That was a little disappointing. I find that, when reading poetry, I prefer to come to my own conclusions about imagery and meaning without having meaning imposed upon me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I want to like poetry I do. Especially poems by disabled poets but I just feel like poems aren’t for me or that they are meant to be read one a day and then dissected. Whenever I read poems, 90 percent of them go over my head, 5 percent I hate and 5 percent I like. So I liked 6 or 7 of the poems here. It gets 3 stars because I enjoyed some of the essays before the poems more than the poems.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bina Artiste

    It’s a good concept but I thought most of it started off dry so I didn’t finish reading it. Although the poem ‘Normal’ mentions “Sammy and I” and that made me happy 😃

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    For me, poetry is a way to make art of words while also having beauty and meaning. Simply using words cleverly can be art, but it doesn’t resonate or nest into your heart and mind unless it showcases what it means to be human. A poem about the beauty of nature is less powerful for me than a poem about the beauty of nature and how it makes you feel or think or change. This compilation is stunning, and it has nothing to do with nature outside, but inside. It has to do with what it means to be huma For me, poetry is a way to make art of words while also having beauty and meaning. Simply using words cleverly can be art, but it doesn’t resonate or nest into your heart and mind unless it showcases what it means to be human. A poem about the beauty of nature is less powerful for me than a poem about the beauty of nature and how it makes you feel or think or change. This compilation is stunning, and it has nothing to do with nature outside, but inside. It has to do with what it means to be human, and over and over how varied and rich that experience is, and how heartbreaking, and how it will silence all your complaints and just live and be. Just so important. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as disability poetry, but it makes sense in the larger frame of identity poetry. This collection, and the genre, does not include illnesses such as cancer or AIDS or alcoholism; these poets have a lifelong affliction like cerebral palsy or genetic diseases. Some poems talk directly about the physical disability, and weave the tangible body with the spiritual or emotional thoughts and feelings. Others are simply great poems. I ended up loving the introductions and bios for each poet that named their disability; it made the experience richer for me, but I also would recommend reading them not knowing, and just experiencing. Some of them are uncomfortable, and make me ashamed that I am ashamed or made uncomfortable by them. That is part of the human condition also, so I welcome it. If I Had Wheels or Love I could make prayers and poems on and on, Relax or labor all the summer day, If I had wheels or love, I would be gone. Spinning along the roadsides until dawn, Feeling the flesh of lovers whom I’d lay I could make prayers and poems on and on. Whistling the hours by me as they drone, Kissed on my breast and belly where I’d play If I had wheels or love, I’d be gone. Over the next horizon toward the sun, Deep in the shadows where I found the way I could make prayers or poems on and on. Vassar Miller Less (excerpts) 1. Now that I’m deaf I’m listening to music. Above all I listen, transfixed, to rasping violin, viola, cello, knowing I’m hearing more than Beethoven did, and infinitely less. Still since the less makes me strain for more, I’m beginning, maybe, to hear more. 2. Now that I’m crippled, I take long walks in the country. Life was a rush. One didn’t stop to look at this tree, which is dying. I only noticed it because I fell over its dead branches and landed against its soft mossy trunk. It’s like me, branches spread out on the ground, as my legs, arms, and crutches are. 3. Now that my memory’s gone, I remember more. My mind wanders among so many scenes…Others might have been real once, but are more interesting now. It takes a lot of forgetting to remember. lot. Robert Fagan Poems with Disabilities I’m sorry- this space is reserved for poems with disabilities. I know it’s one of the best spaces in the book, but the Poems with Disabilities Act requires us to make all reasonable accommodations for poems that aren’t normal… Actually I don’t see any of those poems right now myself, but you never know when one might show up, so we have to keep this space open. You can’t always tell just from looking at them either. Sometimes they’ll look just like a regular poem when they roll in…you’re reading along and suddenly everything changes, the world tilts a little, angle of vision jumps, your entrails aren’t where you left them. You remember your aunt died of cancer at just your age and maybe yesterday’s twinge means something, after all. Your sloppy, fragile heart beats a little faster and then you know. You just know: the poem is right where it belongs. Jim Ferris Excavation Tonight, when I take off my shoes: three toes on each twisted foot. I touch the rough skin. The holes where the pins were. The scars. If I touch them long enough will I find those who never touched me? Or those who did? Freak, midget, three-toed bastard. Words I’ve always heard. Disabled, crippled, deformed. Words I was given. But tonight I go back farther, want more, tear deeper into my skin. Peeling it back I reveal the bones at birth I wasn’t given- the place where no one speaks a word. Kenny Fries

  18. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This anthology had an ambitious goal--create an introduction to the history and current state of disability poetics as a field--and I'm not sure it entirely lived up to that ambition. In part, the decision to include poets who would not have identified within the field of disability poetics seemed misguided, at least to me. It made the anthology feel only loosely held together, with a wide variety of disparate strings that never really wove into one editorial voice. That being said, there are som This anthology had an ambitious goal--create an introduction to the history and current state of disability poetics as a field--and I'm not sure it entirely lived up to that ambition. In part, the decision to include poets who would not have identified within the field of disability poetics seemed misguided, at least to me. It made the anthology feel only loosely held together, with a wide variety of disparate strings that never really wove into one editorial voice. That being said, there are some real standout poets here I likely wouldn't have discovered otherwise. My favorites: Laurie Clements Lambeth, Daniel Simpson, Alex Lemon, Kathi Wolfe, Danielle Pafunda. I'll definitely keep an eye out for other writing from them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diana H.

    Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really the poetry sort. If I read poetry, it's of the "Roses are red, Violets are blue" sort of poem (although I do enjoy a good limerick on occasion as well). So, when I picked up this book I didn't have the slightest idea how deep and thoughtful it would be. This is a collection of poems by various authors who are each disabled in some way. I didn't 'get' many of the poems, (most do not rhyme), but I think poetry lovers will enjoy this collection. There were Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not really the poetry sort. If I read poetry, it's of the "Roses are red, Violets are blue" sort of poem (although I do enjoy a good limerick on occasion as well). So, when I picked up this book I didn't have the slightest idea how deep and thoughtful it would be. This is a collection of poems by various authors who are each disabled in some way. I didn't 'get' many of the poems, (most do not rhyme), but I think poetry lovers will enjoy this collection. There were some notable exceptional poems which I truly enjoyed. They are: The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle Less Normal Hypoesthesia What You Mourn Consonants Cosseted The Examining Table

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    811.60809 B384 2011

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Styperk

  22. 5 out of 5

    rosalind

    this is good but each author's work is preceded by a long introduction which, i don't have time to read that rn lol

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    M (Melissa)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martha

  27. 5 out of 5

    Britany

  28. 4 out of 5

    T.L. Brown

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Keener

  30. 5 out of 5

    Camina

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