stephen kuusisto   book cover  
stephen kuusisto    
poems by Stephen Kuusisto

author interview

Planet of the Blind: an excerpt

essay: Lying in Wait for Happiness

  In crystalline prose that possesses all of the clarity that his vision lacks, poet Stephen Kuusisto charts his lifelong struggle to come to terms with his blindness. Born prematurely, his retinas were scarred when he was incubated and overoxygenated during postnatal care, leaving him fractionally sighted. Taught to hide his blindness by his parents, and able to make out only kaleidoscopic colors and shadowy shapes, Kuusisto attempted to pass as a sighted person for decades. "My eyes are engines of apparition," he writes, never seeking pity, but rather trying to share his world. His lyrical story is both heartbreaking and humorous, told with great warmth and insight. His great achievement is to open the readers eyes to what life is like for those without them. From his lonely childhood, through bouts with obesity and anorexia, to his sexual awakening and eventual acknowledgement of his disability and resolve to get help, Kuusisto's story is beautiful and powerful, yet never sentimental. After he finally gets his guide dog, Corky, Kuusisto is born again, set upon the earth to discover it anew, and the reader's life is made richer by his long journey.

In this issue of Bold Type, Stephen Kuusisto offers several new poems, and a short essay on life as a blind poet. Also featured is an interview with the author and a selection of passages from Planet of the Blind.

Photo of Stephen Kuusisto and Corky copyright © Marion Ettlinger.

Send us comments
Bold Type