Congratulations Simi Linton, author of "My Body Politic"

As mentioned previously on this blog, Simi Linton has a blog called Disability Culture Watch, which she categorizes as "A disability-focused commentary on the arts".  Here is an excerpt from her "About" page:

"There is an emerging cadre of dancers, actors, writers, performance
artists, and painters who are actively engaging with both the fact and
idea of disability. The most exciting work explores what disability
provides the artist, rather than what feats someone can perform despite
disability. When disabled artists use their unique bodies and voices,
something innovative happens.  My job is to follow these turns and
twists on the cultural map, selectively reporting and critiquing this
vital phenomena."

Simi is the author of My Body Politic (University of Michigan Press, 2006) and recently she has been awarded grants, one from the Puffin Foundation and one from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, to develop a stage adaptation for the book.  Congratulations, Simi!  We can’t wait!

With permission from Simi, the summary of her book, as found on her web site, is copied below for our review.  Follow this link to learn more, as well as to hear two selections from the book, read by the author herself. 

Continue reading “Congratulations Simi Linton, author of "My Body Politic"”

Superfest International Disability Film Festival

Guess whose book was made into a film that won an award?!  Yep!  Keep reading! 

Thank you to Day Al-Mohamed at Day in Washington for bringing this to our attention.  Congratulations to Sven Werner of Luxemberg for winning the Pamela K. Walker Award.  Our congratulations to ALL actually…

The following is taken from the Superfest 2007 Awards page:

SUPERFEST XXVII WINNERS 

Congratulations to this year’s award winners!
   
The following contains a list and descriptions of the
    award-winners for SUPERFEST XXVII (2007).
To browse through photos from the award-winning films, click here.

Superfest XXVII Award Winners’ List 
   

Best of Festival   

  • The Epidemic [51 min.] Producer: Niels Frandsen, Denmark

Excellence Awards   

  • No Bigger Than a Minute [52:30 min.] Producer: Steven Delano, U.S.
  • Outsider: The Life and Art of Judith Scott[26 min.] Producer: Betsy Bayha, U.S. 

Achievement Awards
   

  • Headstrong: Inside the Hidden World of Dyslexia and ADHD [26:41 min.]                         Producers: Chloe Sladden, Ben Foss, Steve Schecter, U.S.
  • Stroke [58 min.] Producer: Katarina Peters, Germany
  • The Rest of My Life: Stories of Trauma Survivors [25 min.]                                            Producer: Gabriel Ledger, M.D., U.S.   

Merit Awards   

  • Carmela [30 min.] Producer: Guillermo Lopez Perez, Mexico
  • Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life[92 min.] Producer: Roll With Me Productions, U.S.
  • Mercury Stole My Fire [12:12 min.] Producer: Anitra Nelson, Australia
  • Seeing Is Believing [13 min.] Producer: Tofik Shakhverdiev, Russia
  • Symphony of Silence [22 min.] Producer: Yves J. Ma, Canada

Spirit Award

  • No Bigger Than a Minute [50:15 min.] Producer: Steven Delano, U.S.
       

Pamela K. Walker Award   

  • Planet of the Blind [20 min.] Producer: Sven Werner, Luxemburg

Emerging Artist Award   

  • Let Us Spell It Out for You [2:36 min.]  Producer: Joseph Santini, US.

The Clever Title: Book Reviews and Other Cool Things

I would like to recommend a new literature and "other cool stuff" blog called: "The Clever Title: Book Reviews and Other Cool Things

This new blog is hosted, in part, by Ira Sukrungruang, a professor of creative writing at the State University of New York at Oswego.  Ira is a terrific writer, but he’s also a great reader and he has what the Victorians used to call a "circle" and what the French used to call an "atelier" and which they call "a posse" in the hood–namely, he has sharp friends who think about the human oddity known as "bookishness"–and which the Victorians called "Englishness" and which the French call "le mot just" and which they call in the hood "hip hop" and which they call in Finland,"not killing yourself because the weather is unsupportive of primate life which is why books were invented in the first place".  (That is, of course, all one word in Finnish.) 

I encourage you to visit this new blog today!  Tell ’em Steve K. sent you…

S.K.

Thank you Laura Hershey of BeyondChron: San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily News

And thank you to Kay Olson of The Gimp Parade for pointing us to this article:

The Dilemma for Disabled Authors, at BeyondChron: San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily News.  Here is an excerpt:

"Three recent books by disabled authors take entirely fresh approaches to the subject of disability, presenting it as a phenomenon both intensely personal and culturally significant.  Elegy for a Disease: A Personal and Cultural History of Polio by Anne Finger, Eavesdropping: A Life by Ear by Stephen Kuusisto, and Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller by Georgina Kleege all follow their own logic; they do not exist in order to answer the same old questions.

They pose new questions — about history and violence and voice, about sound and sensuality, about education and self-determination. None of these books offer tragedy, platitudes, or easy inspiration. They all tell honest, compelling stories without skirting either individual hardship or social injustice. All three deserve to be widely read for the depth of their exploration, and for the beauty of their language."

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wwwstephenkuu-20&o=1&p=40&l=ur1&category=books&banner=1QX5S3SEEFM6BE9P4VG2&f=ifr

Book Signing Update: Running for their Lives

Two years ago now Steve and I were each struggling with knee
injuries while training for a "Train to End Stroke" marathon.  Thanks
to many of you, we managed to raise a total of ten thousand dollars and
although disappointed to not be able to run 26.2 miles because of
complaining knees, we did each run and complete the Kona, Hawaii half
marathon. 

That’s how we met Karl Gruber.  He sold us sneakers.  Several pairs
as I recall.  Karl is an expert when it comes to sneakers, and for good
reason.  Having run 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise funds and awareness to fight Leukemia, he’s probably spent a small fortune on his own sneakers.Running

We’re pleased to inform you that Karl has written a book about his experience called "Running For Their Lives"

"The text tells the story of Gruber, a marathon runner from Hide-A-Way
Hills, Ohio, who left his home and job to travel across North America
and participated in fifty-two grueling marathons within fifty-two
weeks. Calling the tour a “Super Run for the Cure”, Gruber did it all
to raise money and awareness regarding leukemia research. From TV to
radio and print media interviews, Gruber worked tirelessly and
religiously to inspire as many people as he could in one of the most
amazing displays of heroism by an athlete."

Congratulations
Karl.  We’re proud to say we know ya.  What?  You say your first book
signing is on Sunday, May 13 from Noon to 5 PM at FrontRunner" (1344 W.
Lane Ave., Columbus, OH)?  OK.  See you then!

Connie and Steve

UPDATE 5/11/2007:  Karl has informed us his book signing has been postponed.  Hopefully he will keep us informed.
UPDATE 5/24/2007:  A new message from Karl:

The book signing of my book "Running For Their Lives" has officially been rescheduled for Sunday, June 3 from noon to 5PM. at FrontRunner on Lane Ave. in Upper Arlington (Ohio).  I really look forward to seeing any and all of you who can make it! Let your friends and family know, too!        "gotta Run!",     – Karl

 

The Book Blog

Bill Eichenberger, friend and book critic of the Columbus Dispatch, has started a new blog and we are proud to introduce it to you here on the Planet of the Blind.  According to Bill, his goal for The Book Blog

"is for the blog to be, in a modest way, all things to all book lovers.
And I hope the comment threads can give people in central Ohio (and farther
afield) a place to converse."

Visit his blog and the first thing you will learn is that

"Bill Eichenberger joined The Dispatch in
1985 and became the pop music critic in 1989, a position he held for
nine years until he replaced George Myers, Jr. (the original Dispatch
blogger) as the book critic in 1997.

Eichenberger contends that he added 50 points to his IQ the day he became book critic and insists
that “my worst interview with an author was still better than my best
interview with a musician.”

Eichenberger will blog about books — at least until Americans forsake the written word and give themselves over entirely to American Idol."

In one of his very first posts this month Bill asks the question "The future of book reviews?" and links to an article in which there is a quote by Maud Newton, who has been writing a literary blog since 2002.  Our readers know that Lance Mannion, besides being a literary blogger (among other things), is our friend and mentor and he says that Maud Newton is "To Be Read First Thing in the Morning".  Check his blogroll.  You’ll see.

Bill Eichenberger has done Steve the honor of reviewing both his books, in print  – in the Columbus Dispatch – and we are pleased to find this little way to "pay it forward". 

Gosh, and while I’m thinking of it, I’ve got to find a way to introduce Bill to ohdave of Into My Own.  Ohdave (yet another friend/literary blogger) has a weekly feature he calls "Sunday Reading" and he too was kind enough to review Steve’s book and to post some of his poetry. 

So Bill, meet Lance and ohdave.  Lance, meet Bill and ohdave.  ohdave, meet Bill and Lance.

There.  I think my work here is done for the day.

~ Connie

52 Marathons in 52 Weeks to Fight Leukemia

Two years ago now Steve and I were each struggling with knee injuries while training for a "Train to End Stroke" marathon.  Thanks to many of you, we managed to raise a total of ten thousand dollars and although disappointed to not be able to run 26.2 miles because of complaining knees, we did each run and complete the Kona, Hawaii half marathon. 

That’s how we met Karl Gruber.  He sold us sneakers.  Several pairs as I recall.  Karl is an expert when it comes to sneakers, and for good reason.  Having run 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise funds and awareness to fight Leukemia, he’s probably spent a small fortune on his own sneakers.Running

We’re pleased to inform you that Karl has written a book about his experience called "Running For Their Lives"

"The text tells the story of Gruber, a marathon runner from Hide-A-Way
Hills, Ohio, who left his home and job to travel across North America
and participated in fifty-two grueling marathons within fifty-two
weeks. Calling the tour a “Super Run for the Cure”, Gruber did it all
to raise money and awareness regarding leukemia research. From TV to
radio and print media interviews, Gruber worked tirelessly and
religiously to inspire as many people as he could in one of the most
amazing displays of heroism by an athlete."

Congratulations Karl.  We’re proud to say we know ya.  What?  You say your first book signing is on Sunday, May 13 from Noon to 5 PM at FrontRunner" (1344 W. Lane Ave., Columbus, OH)?  OK.  See you then!

Connie and Steve

UPDATE 5/11/2007:  Karl has informed us his book signing has been postponed.  Hopefully he will keep us informed.

The History of My Shoes: Field Work with Body and Soul

Book Review
By Stephen Kuusisto

The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory
By Kenny Fries
Carroll and Graf

Kenny Fries has ghosts on his shoulders and ghosts in his shoes.  It is precisely because of this that the narrator of this important book is a shaman of culture and history.  Kenny Fries is speaking for all of us, even if we don’t know it yet.  Readers may initially think this is a disability memoir but it is really a post-Victorian narrative about Darwin’s strange legacy in our world of real bodies.

Arriving at the tuff of the Galapagos Islands Fries sees the graffiti carved into the hillside by two centuries of mariners.  And he reads the names for us.  We are in the company of travelers who have followed the course of Charles Darwin’s famous voyage and whose only writing remains as stark and meaningless as uncatalogued bones.

Enter poetry.  Lyric poetry.  Subjective experience.  The story of a singular body.

Fries walks with damaged legs and wears custom made orthopedic shoes as he follows the path of Darwin’s literal and figurative voyage—and like Darwin he travels because customary ideas are in need of re-examination.

A friend of mine in my undergraduate days at Hobart College once observed that “there’s the real Darwin and then there are the Sears & Roebuck Darwins…”  The latter are of course the purveyors of faulty social ideas and certainly people with disabilities have been the sad inheritors of same.  The late Victorian obsession with eugenics comes to mind.

The History of My Shoes is a poet’s eye look at Darwin’s world of ideas and it is simultaneously a book about inhabiting a body that requires hourly adaptations both of mind and of physical practice.  This is a narrative that works against method as Darwin once worked against method and the rewards are manifested on page after page.  This is a groundbreaking book for those who are interested in the history of ideas and the corresponding history of the human body.

"Reasonable People": On Poetry and the Politics of Breathing

Book Review:
by Stephen Kuusisto

Reasonable People: a Memoir of Autism & Adoption
By Ralph James Savarese
The Other Press

“My name is DJ and I am taking a trip of a lifetime.”

The line above appears in the journal of DJ Savarese who is the co-author of the memoir Reasonable People which has just been published by The Other Press.  The sub-title of the book is as important to culture as the title itself: “On the meaning of family and the politics of neurological difference”.  This timely book is about the Horatian life, “Life” written with a capital “L”.  Accordingly it is about family and the life of the mind; about poetry and the fierce resistance to stereotypes of people with autism.

Assuredly one can think of dozens of additional sub-titles for the book: Living Outside their Boxes; Unraveling the Outworn Tapestry of Academic Autism; A Prayer Wheel by Two Poets; or The Road of Salt and Honey.   

This is a memoir about “hard traveling” as Woody Guthrie would say, and yet it is far more than a narrative of trouble and triumph.  The poet, Ralph James Savarese, skillfully tells the story of his adoptive son DJ’s former life of physical and intellectual abuse and in turn and almost seamlessly tells the story of how he and his wife Emily must grow both intellectually and emotionally and yes, politically, since DJ’s autism is the kind of disability our culture has misunderstood throughout history.   

Continue reading “"Reasonable People": On Poetry and the Politics of Breathing”