Friday, April 5, 2013

National Poetry Month: Stephen Kuusisto

"Letter to Borges from Buenos Aires"
(Stephen Kuusisto)

Things seen
Through the eyes of girls--
Morning walks
Past intricate, modernist shopping,
A touch of Milan in the old city--
Glass flutes, gold medallions,
Baskets filled with carved birds.

Borges, tellthem what you see:
Wingless angels, brows unselfish,
Books blown open
From which numbers rise and walk
Like circus cats.

Today's girl describes carpets and last year's wine,
You clutch her arm afraid to walk.
Such stark houses, iron grilles,
Perforated clocks--
All things
Confessing station
To the blind.

Is this why you stayed home,
Behind a window, water in a glass,
Leaves and shutters "imperative," "irrevocable"?

"Letter to Borges from Buenos Aires" by Stephen Kuusisto appears in Letters to Borges, his new collection of poems published by Copper Canyon Press. His first book of poems, Only Bread Only Light, was published in 2000. Currently he is a professor at Syracuse University and speaks widely on the topics of disability, diversity, education, and literature. Kuusisto is the author of Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening. At five years old, he underwent multiple eye surgeries to correct his crossed eyes; with 20/200 vision in his "better" eye, he is legally blind. “I see like a person who looks through a kaleidoscope," Kuusisto writes in his 1998 memoir Planet of the Blind, "my impressions of the world at once beautiful and largely useless.”

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