Artist's Statement and Poems


  • Kenny Fries



The questions of who has the right and authority to write about disability—and what this writing could look like—echo in the works which poet and disability scholar Kenny Fries contributes to this thematic issue. His artist’s statement poignantly reminds us of the cultural cliché “where I am the only visibly disabled writer and if I don’t bring up the subject nobody else will.” His poems challenge us to move beyond the surface level and enter the very “microcosms” Fries discerned in Japanese Gardens. Purposefully, we included a wide array of poems, some specifically and explicitly about disability, others soliciting us to “excavate” and interrogate images and metaphors at work in both the representation and experience of disability.

(Tanja Reiffenrath and Gesine Wegner “Dis-eased: Critical Approaches to Disability and Illness in American Studies”)

Author Biography

Kenny Fries

Kenny Fries is the author, most recently, of In the Province of the Gods“, which received the Creative Capital literature grant.  His other work includes Body, Remember: A Memoir“, and The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory“, which received the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.  He is the editor of Staring Back:  The Disability Experience from the Inside Out.  His books of poems include Anesthesia“, Desert Walking“, and In the Gardens of Japan“.  He was a Creative Arts Fellow of the Japan/US Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, twice a Fulbright Scholar (Japan and Germany), and has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council.  He teaches in the MFA in Creative Program at Goddard College.




How to Cite

Fries, Kenny. “Artist’s Statement and Poems”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 18, no. 2, Feb. 2018, doi:10.5283/copas.299.