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Beauty is a Verb

Publishers Weekly 1 Stars
This powerful anthology attempts to—and succeeds at—intimately showing...disability through the lenses of poetry...What emerges from the book as a whole is a stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other.
This powerful anthology attempts to—and succeeds at—intimately showing (meaning, at various times and among many other aims, sharing the experience of, defining the self in terms of, refusing to define the self in terms of, trying to define, exploring the indefiniteness of) disability through the lenses of poetry. According to the editors’ preface, “we include not only poets who created and embrace the disability/ crip poetics movement but also those who might resist such a classification and have never been considered in that exact context.” Indeed, some readers and writers may strongly resist the idea of disability as a context for gathering poems, though what emerges from the book as a whole is a stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other. There are no simple truths here. Jim Ferris insists readers “Look with care, look deep./ You know you are a cripple too. / I sing for cripples; I sing for you.” The poet and novelist Jillian Weise bucks at the “disability poetics” banner in an essay in which she says “I…find it discouraging that these first efforts are essentializing, seeking to brand a common disabled experience.” Coming from across the aesthetic spectrum, these poets and poems demonstrate the deep truth of what Vassar Millar writes in a poem anthologized here: “No man’s sickness has a synonym.”
- September 19, 2011 
[BEAUTY IS A VERB] is going to be one of the defining collections of the 21st century...the discourse between ability, identity & poetry will never be the same."
- Ron Silliman, author of In The American Tree, September 21, 2011  Visit Website
“Probably the most intelligent thematic anthology I’ve ever read."
- Ron Silliman, author of In The American Tree
"A groundbreaking collection, bringing together those, like Larry Eigner and Josephine Miles...and powerful new voices, like Amber DiPietra and Rusty Morrison. As the poets and poems speak to—and sometimes argue with—one another, we see a new strain of poetry growing before or eyes. The effect is far more than cumulative: it is astonishing.”
- Anne Finger, author of Elegy for a Disease
"This is a sensational, stunning book--one of the best literary collections in a very long time. We are speaking about powerful writing changing us--readers of BEAUTY IS A VERB will be mightily, irrevocably altered and enlarged--in ways we deeply need to be. Thank you authors and editors for a brilliant anthology."
- Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Fuel
"Revelatory, provocative, harrowing, and bold, the poems are also accompanied by personal essays that create thresholds into each poet’s whys and wherefores. These voices range from the specific and personal to the abstract and philosophical, sweeping any reader—including the temporarily able—into the profoundest questions of how to live."
- Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden
"Immerse yourself in muscular poems of tenderness and intensity, intimate poems of eloquence and bluntness, profound poems that present disability's difficulty, challenge, and pride–all the while exploring the triumph of the human condition." [Full review here.]
- Marie Kane, author of Survivors in the Garden
Ron Silliman
Beauty is the volume that most surprised me in 2011, and most deeply expanded how I look not just at the world, but even at myself. I can’t imagine a literature that doesn’t include ALL of the books here, but if I had to pick one book for 2011 that remade the world, it would be this one.
- December 22, 2011  Visit Website
NewPages Book Reviews
[T]his insightful new collection deserves the widest audience possible.
- Aimee Nicole, May 1, 2012  Visit Website

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