The Poetry Conference

They see me walking with my stick or dog
And like a wisp of curtains
I hear their assumptions—
That I’ve been admitted by mistake
Or I must be lost
Surely poems require sight?

Screw Homer; who reads Milton?
Big time poets know blindness
Stands for something something—
Didn’t Rilke touch on it—
A blind man clutches a gray woman
And is lost forever in dark infancies?

That blind woman who writes verses—
She must be a bird
Something something
Maybe related to language
Her poems like feathers
Or yarrow stalks.

“How do you write so clearly
If you can’t see?”
“How do you read?”
“Would you have been a writer
If you had sight?”
“Can you see me at all?”

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 for pre-order:
Amazon
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 

One thought on “The Poetry Conference

  1. Poet seems to be a rather limiting label for what you do. . . and yet, what is the profession of someone to whom my responses can include (depending on the topic): __ Huh. (silence) __ Say what? Let me read that again. __ Seriously? Tell me more. __ (Silence. Never pondered that.) __ Damn, I need a thesaurus again. __ Damn, wish I had taken more than one music history class. __ Now that’s going to stick in my mind. __ (Did I mention that the size of the last book, fonts, cover. . . . reader’s hands/lap friendly? And, that I delayed reading it, because it would end?)

    All good…. challenging, sometimes un-nerving, and good for me. (Kinda like beets….. oops, sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 8:54 AM, Planet of the Blind wrote:

    > skuusisto posted: “They see me walking with my stick or dog And like a > wisp of curtains I hear their assumptions— That I’ve been admitted by > mistake Or I must be lost Surely poems require sight? Screw Homer; who > reads Milton? Big time poets know blindness Stands” >

    Like

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