Beauty is a Verb
By Michael Northen, Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett
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.
For the reader of good poetry interested in the diversity of American expression. The anthology provides an understanding of the history and contemporary vitality of the poetry and poetics of the non-normative body. Three sections--"Foremothers and Forefathers," "The Disability Poetics Movement," and "A Language of New Embodiment"--gather the poems and statements on poetics together in a meaningful whole.
From "Poems with Disabilities" by Jim Ferris:
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. There is a nice space just
a few pages over--in fact (don't
tell anyone) I think it's better
than this one, I myself prefer it.
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
About the Creators
Michael Northen edits Wordgathering, A Journal of Disability and Poetry and coordinates the annual Inglis House Poetry Contest for disability-related poetry. For over 40 years, he has taught adults with physical disabilities, women on public assistance, prisoners, and rural and inner city children.
Sheila Black is the author of over 40 books for children and young adults as well as the author of two poetry collections and two chapbooks. She was born with X-Linked Hypophosphotema (XLH), a rare genetic bone condition, often called Vitamin D Resistent Rickets. Two of her three children also have XLH.
Jennifer Bartlett was a 2005 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow. Her publications include Derivative of the Moving Image (UNM Press 2005), (a) lullaby without any music (Chax 2011), and Anti-Autobiography (Saint Elizabeth Street / Youth-in-Asia Press 2010).