A Los Angeles Review Best Book of the Year
“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 TimesWhen 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.” Ten 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (2007), is a bold investigation of disability and sexuality.
A smart and savvy ode to absences--of a lover, of a self, and of a part of the self, literal and figurative . . . This is a brilliant book ultimately about connection.
This book reminds us that the pain of love and loss, in the hands of a powerful wordsmith such as Weise, might just morph into passion, thrill, strength. And that love-suffering can bring us ever closer to lovability because through it we learn to connect, renew, transform.
Unflinching and profoundly relevant poetry . . . A take on alienation that implicitly indicts all of us.
Book of Goodbyes is edgy [and] in-your face.
Jillian Weise is a troublemaker. We need more writers like her, more novels like her hilarious, deeply moving, sexy, scary novel The Colony, which is about gene therapy, Watson and Crick, excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, mortality, finding love, finding a home, finding family, and all the other doomed experiments we conduct in the hope in making a better human.
The Colony is howlingly funny and deeply sad. It is touching and toweringly angry. It is melancholy and lavishly sexual. It is unique--but it speaks with graceful force to everyone. I read many novels and forget many, but I will never forget what Jillian Weise has so brilliantly set down. Neither will you. Please try it. You will thank me.
A debut that should be cause for much rejoicing . . . The Colony is clever and playful, yes, but there’s no mistaking this for whimsy--Weise’s is a playfulness backed by steel.