"I originally published this in 2007 thinking, Oh this is a fine book, but I will be joined by a whole lot of amputee writers, and they are going to be here any minute. I'm still waiting."
Within twenty-four hours of meeting Jillian Weise for the first time, I was in a wig and dark round glasses, drinking extra-dry martinis in a dive bar, and answering to the name Zosia Zuckerberg (ZZ, for short). It felt like the most natural thing in the world. Spending time with Weise is not disparate from spending time with her work—entertaining and engaging, playing with form—and always a little unsure (but excited) about what comes next. I first encountered Weise's writing through her novel The Colony (Soft Skull Press), where she confronts the often eluded conversations about disability and intimacy. Her protagonist is bold and electrifying, navigating the territory between societal acceptance and self-preservation.
These tensions are present in Weise's most recent poetry collection, The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions), as well as her debut novel, The Amputee's Guide to Sex, originally published by Soft Skull Press in 2007 and reissued this fall. "I dream the Mona Lisa into a wheelchair; she smirks behind glass with a victory stare," Weise writes in the poem "Half-Portrait." Her poetry complicates notions of "normalcy" and rescinds popular narratives of bodily shame. Her work engages with scholars, doctors, patients, writers, and of course, her readers—asking vital questions about where their values and ideals lie.
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