Planet of the Blind: A Poet’s Journey | Los Angeles Public Library
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Planet of the Blind: A Poet’s Journey

Steve Kuusisto
In conversation with Louise Steinman
Thursday, May 24, 2018
01:07:44
Episode Summary

From the author of several collections of poetry and memoirs, including the New York Times “Notable Book of the Year” Planet of the Blind, Stephen Kuusisto discusses his latest book, Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey, a lyrical love letter and “a dog-driven invitation to living full forward.” Born legally blind, Kuusisto was raised in the 1950s before the Americans with Disability Act, and was taught to deny his blindness in order to “pass” as sighted. For most of his life, he coped with his limited vision through tricks like memorization, but when at the age of 38, he’s laid off from his teaching job in a small town, he must alter his way of being in the world. Discussing his resonant memoir with author Louise Steinman, Kuusisto recounts how an incredible partnership with a dog changed everything and sent him on a wondrous, spiritual midlife adventure.


Participant(s) Bio

Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Ohio State University. He currently teaches at Syracuse University where he holds a professorship in the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad.

Louise Steinman is curator of the award-winning ALOUD series and co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for Humanities at USC. She is the author of three books: The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War; The Knowing Body: The Artist as Storyteller in Contemporary Performance; and The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation. She was a 2015 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida. Her work appears, most recently, in The Los Angeles Review of Books, and on her Crooked Mirror blog.



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