A Los Angeles Review Best Book of the Year
“If they see the half-limb then they become inhibited, nervous. They think: ‘Will it hurt like this? Would she tell me if it did?’ Mobility shows confidence. Think for two people. Know where your limbs are at all times; know where your partner’s limbs are at all times.”
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.”
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?
An elegant examination of intimacy and disability and a fearless dissection of the taboo and the hidden.
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.
With deadpan heartbreak and powerful invention, Jillian Weise raids the border-territories between the human body and the arts.
Weise’s book is fiercely and unabashedly feminist. In reading it, I was reminded of the role of the body in that troublesome triangle of sex, love, and politics.
The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, is a bold investigation of disability and sexuality.