Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

"A River that No One Can See": Body, Text, and Environment in the Poetry of Stephen Kuusisto

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (2), 183–194.

Abstract

Drawing from extant critical analyses of the sites of language production and reception, and the relationship of body to language and metaphor, this essay examines the way in which Stephen Kuusisto's poetry questions held notions of language and embodiment. In examining selections from his book of verse Only Bread, Only Light, as well as his works of non-fiction, the author analyzes Kuusisto's disruption of the boundaries where communication occurs, and suggests that the poet's work, by establishing the discursive potential of the non-visual senses, represents a direct challenge to existing artistic and cultural discourse.

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Aristotle. "The Poetics." Trans. S. H. Butcher. Project Gutenberg, 1999. > http://www.gutenberg. org/etext/1974 Google Scholar

"Bloch, Ernest." Encyclopedia Americana. 1992. Google Scholar

Christian, Graham. "Only Bread, Only Light (Book Review)." Library Journal 125.20 (2000): 145. Google Scholar

Conan, Neal. Interview with Stephen Kuusisto. Talk of the Nation. National Public Radio. 5 January 1998. Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard J. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body. London; New York: Verso, 1995. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body Google Scholar

Dolmage, Jay. "Between the Valley and the Field." Prose Studies 27.1 (2005): 108–119. Between the Valley and the Field Prose Studies 27 108 119 Google Scholar

Kuppers, Petra. "Outsides: Disability Culture Nature Poetry." Journal of Literary Disability 1.1 (2007): 22–33. Outsides: Disability Culture Nature Poetry Journal of Literary Disability 1 22 33 Google Scholar

Kuppers, Petra. "Performing Determinism: Disability Culture Poetry." Text and Performance Quarterly 27.2 (2007): 89–106. Performing Determinism: Disability Culture Poetry Text and Performance Quarterly 27 89 106 Google Scholar

Kuusisto, Stephen. Eavesdropping: A Life by Ear. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. Eavesdropping: A Life by Ear Google Scholar

Kuusisto, Stephen. Only Bread, Only Light: Poems. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon P, 2000. Only Bread, Only Light: Poems Google Scholar

Kuusisto, Stephen. Planet of the Blind. New York: Dial P, 1998. Planet of the Blind Google Scholar

Kuusisto, Stephen, and Petra Kuppers. "Auto-Graphein or 'the Blind Man's Pencil': Notes on the Making of a Poem." Journal of Literary Disability 1.1 (2007): 74–80. Auto-Graphein or 'the Blind Man's Pencil': Notes on the Making of a Poem Journal of Literary Disability 1 74 80 Google Scholar

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. "Blindness and Art." The Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Lennard J. Davis. New York: Routledge, 1997. 382–398. Google Scholar

Sacks, Oliver W. An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales. 1st edn. New York: Knopf, 1995. An Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales Google Scholar

Seaman, Donna. "Only Bread, Only Light." The Booklist 97.2 (2000): 205. Google Scholar

Snyder, Sharon L. "Infinities of Forms: Disability Figures in Artistic Traditions." Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. Ed. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2002. 173–196. Google Scholar

Snyder, Sharon L., and David T. Mitchell. "Disability Haunting in American Poetics." Journal of Literary Disability 1.1 (2007): 1–12. Disability Haunting in American Poetics Journal of Literary Disability 1 1 12 Google Scholar

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Author details

Melancon, Michael

Melancon, Michael