Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back

There are already good reviews of this book available. This is just a personal reflection on it.

I found it a very challenging book - it challenged my perceptions and my own sense of identity. I found myself becoming angry, sad, and scribbling madly about what I read of the poets' different experiences and perceptions, and then - and it surprised me, and shouldn't have - I started to rethink who I was and wasn't, how I identified myself to myself and to others, and why...

Self-identification and the individual experience are the key positive things for me in this book - and the understanding of that experience. Note, I did say for me - because the voices in the collection, and the experiences and perceptions are, of course, diverse, and although there are some common themes, there are also striking differences - in tone, outlook, purpose...

It shouldn't take to the third paragraph to say it (though the book, in a way, does have that effect), but there is some absolutely stunning poetry in this book. I did (slightly) know some of the poets already, but there are other poets who I didn't know, and will now be keenly looking out for. I am not going to specify.

One thing I have not done here is to say anything about my own experiences in the context of this book. But what occurred to me, as I thought about the book, and writing this, is what assumptions would someone make - from what I've written, from my name, and from my photo on this blog? Like the book, it makes you think.

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