Thank You Jeffrey Brown of PBS News Hour

Stephen Kuusisto to appear on PBS News Hour
Image: Logo of PBS News Hour

Tonight the PBS NewsHour will air a segment about my new book Have Dog, Will TravelThe piece features an interview with Jeffrey Brown whose reporting on literature and poetry is well known to book lovers across the nation. Jeffrey is also a poet whose first collection The News is available from Copper Canyon Press. In our time together we talked about poetry, civil rights, disability culture, dogs for the blind, the field of disability studies, and the power of literature to bring people together around social justice movements. And yes, there’s a lovely dog, Caitlyn, a sweetie pie yellow Labrador from Guiding Eyes for the Blind.

The program airs locally, in Syracuse at 7 PM. Check your local listings.

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Stephen Kuusisto and HarleyABOUT: Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a University Professorship in Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. His website is StephenKuusisto.com.

Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey is now available:
Amazon
Prairie Lights
Grammercy Books
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound.org

Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

(Photo picturing the cover of Stephen Kuusisto’s new memoir “Have Dog, Will Travel” along with his former guide dogs Nira (top) and Corky, bottom.) Bottom photo by Marion Ettlinger 

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

9 thoughts on “Thank You Jeffrey Brown of PBS News Hour”

  1. Thanks for this thoughtful comment. I try my best to be a thoughtful and faithful companion to my guide dogs but the aspiration and the reality are not always in tandem. For instance I’ve never hit or physically abused any of my dogs but on more than one occasion I’ve raised my voice to them out of frustration. I make it up to them of course. No one’s perfect; even a guide dog will eat a turd or stop paying attention because of a squirrel distraction. Love is the answer in all cases.

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  2. Dear Mr. Kuusisto,

    I just finished your lovely, informative and enlightening memoir, Have Dog Will Travel. I am so appreciative to you for the book and the insights it imparted to me about how your dog Corky impacted your life. You courageously shared very intimate and personal anecdotes about your relationship with your spectacular dog, some that I can relate to and some that amaze me because they are beyond my experience and understanding. I do have a follow up question, and I’d be so grateful if you could indulge me with a response…

    I am not blind. But I am a Lab lover and an incredibly grateful adoptive parent of a released GEB dog. He is not my first Lab, but he is so very special. I know first hand how extraordinary GEB dogs are. I have been personally touched by my dogs’ instincts, intuition and eagerness to connect to, support and help his “humans.” especially during the extraordinary challenges of the last year. He is an inexplicably essential and treasured component in the equation of our family and how it works. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to him and to all of the effort and work and love that was put into him by others before he came to us. My question relates to that weight of responsibility. Have you ever felt that you let your faithful friend down? Have you ever violated the understood rules with your dog or tested the bonds of trust between you? No human is perfect. Dogs are unconditionally forgiving. Your book (rightfully) glorifies the role of a good dog in an imperfect human’s life and how that dog helps make the human more perfect. Blind or not, that is a story that I understand inside my bones from my own personal experience with two extraordinary labradors who were by my side through inexplicable personal challenge and tragedy. I cannot measure the impact of the internal strength they imparted to me. But your book is silent on how a human may, from time to time, fail or violate the purity of a dog’s faith in her human. And how the relationship holds through that test. I suspect this his more a matter of the internal workings of the human mind than the canine mind, which is more straightforward. But I am curious to know whether you ever feel that you let your dog down. Did you ever fail or disappoint her? How did you fix it? I acknowledge that this is a very personal question and the answer may be private. But you share so much, so forthrightly in your book. This seems like one glaring omission about your relationship with Corky. I am curious to hear your insights if you are willing to open that next chapter.

    Thank you so much for the honesty and vulnerability you share in your book. It reaffirmed for me that, regardless of whether you are sighted or not, there really is nothing like a good dog.

    Many thanks,
    Katie

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  3. I’ve been wanting to write about _Have Dog, Will Travel_ since I read it a couple weeks ago, but that book refuses an easy response. I thought it would be an easy read, a light memoir about a man and his dog, but it was much more complicated and interesting than that. If it were straight story, I would have enjoyed it, but I did more than enjoy. That book sticks with me.

    Some of it is the poetic, lyrical tone to the prose. There’s more going on here than in most memoirs. Story is important here, but there is an art to the telling that makes it bigger than a tale of learning to work with a guide dog. This is a piece about transformation but even that falls short of what’s happening. The author remains the same man but is elevated. Man and dog combine in an almost mythic way that frees the man to become the person he has been kept from, has kept himself from, has been taught to doubt and ignore.

    I still don’t think I’m getting it all here.

    The author’s talks about his past, his parents, his jobs, and his work, but doesn’t dwell in any of these. He gives us enough to understand that this is more than a man and his dog, more than a blind man’s redemption, more than traditional memoir. These things all provide depth but serve the story of Kuusisto and Corky. It is a lovely balance.

    Perhaps my favorite line of the entire book is this: “…my job is to dare to be in the world” (175). That’s my job too. I thought I had sight but this book gave me vision.

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  4. Hi Steve,
    I was a volunteer at GEB when you were there with Corky.
    I found you both to be delightful and have followed you through the years.
    My book club read and discussed Have Dog Will Travel.
    They loved it.
    And the one non-dog lover was so moved she cried when Corky died.
    Keep up the good work and awareness working for the blind.

    Jane Galvin
    Big Canoe, Georgia

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  5. I just completed reading, “Have Dog, Will Travel”, and I found it inspiring as well as courageous. What you shared was an amazing journey of transformation. Thank you for sharing that journey.

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  6. Just finished “Have Dog Will Travel” and was really moved – I felt as though I were invited to join you in a wonderfully personal journey – thanks for a wonderful read…and introducing me to an equally wonderful canine 🙂

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  7. Dear Sir… I just finished the audiobook version of Have Dog Will Travel. I became legally blind as an adult. I’ve been using a white cane for about ten years. Your words are very helpful, thoughtful, and kind. Thank you.

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