The Amputee's Guide to Sex (Paperback)
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A paradigm-shifting collection about disability and desire, recontextualized with an introduction by one of our most provocative contemporary poets.
When Jillian Weise wrote The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, it was with the intention of changing the conversation around disability; essentially, she was tired of seeing "cripples" portrayed as asexual characters. The collection that resulted is a powerful lesson in desire, the body, pain, and possession.
These poems interrogate medical language and history, imagine Mona Lisa in a wheelchair, rewrite Elizabeth Bishop’s poem "In the Waiting Room," address a lover’s arsonist ex-girlfriend, and show the prosthesis as the object of male curiosity and lust. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called the book a “charged and daring debut” and described Jillian Weise as an "agile and powerful poet . . . speaking boldly and compassionately about a little-discussed subject that becomes universal in her careful hands."
In the years since its first publication, our culture continues to grapple with questions limned in this collection. In a new introduction, Weise revisits and recontextualizes her work, revealing its urgency to our present moment. What are the challenges of speaking "for" a community? How to resist the institutionalization of ableist paradigms? How are atypical bodies silenced? Where do our corporeal selves intersect with our technologies?
About the Author
Jillian Weise is a poet, performance artist and disability rights activist. She is the author of The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (2007), The Colony (2010) and The Book of Goodbyes (2013), which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Isabella Gardner Award from BOA Editions. Her work has appeared in A Public Space, The Huffington Post and The New York Times and many other publications. Weise is the recipient of residencies and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, the Fulbright Program, the Lannan Foundation, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is an Associate Professor at Clemson University.
"In her charged and daring debut, Weise artfully interweaves biographical details with meditations on the history of disability and sex, laying bare the complexities of finding sexual and emotional intimacy as an amputee with a prosthetic leg . . . An agile and powerful poet, Weise references medical literature, history and poetry, speaking boldly and compassionately about a little-discussed subject that becomes universal in her careful hands. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Readers who can handle the hair-raising experience of Jillian Weise’s gutsy poetry debut . . . will be rewarded with an elegant examination of intimacy and disability and a fearless dissection of the taboo and the hidden." —Los Angeles Times
"With deadpan heartbreak and powerful invention, Jillian Weise raids the border-territories between the human body and the arts, creating in her poetry a devastating imaginary space where immortal representations of face, limb and torso jostle and translate (beautifully, dangerously) into the transient flesh and bone of the perceived real world." —Josh Bell, author of No Planets Strike
"The poems in Jillian Weise’s The Amputee’s Guide to Sex perform an earthy, flamenco-like stomp and full-throated Whitmanesque song (the extended remix), reaching notes as daring and feeling as crushingly good-looking: This is my skin, my body and I am too / alive, electric, meat and metal." —Major Jackson, author of Hoops and Leaving Saturn
"Weise’s book is fiercely and unabashedly feminist. In reading it, I was reminded in all the most complex and interesting ways of the role of the body in that troublesome triangle of sex, love, and politics: a triangle with deep implications for the feminist movement." —So to Speak Journal
"The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (2007), is a bold investigation of disability and sexuality." —Poetry Foundation