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Cyborg Detective

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Cyborg Detective delivers a reckoning to the ableism of the Western Canon. In her latest poetry collection, Jillian Weise investigates and challenges the ways that nondisabled writers represent disability in their work. From an acerbic letter calling out William Carlos Williams’s medical conviction that “poetry heals” to a reverse-perspective biohack of Raymond Carver’s “C Cyborg Detective delivers a reckoning to the ableism of the Western Canon. In her latest poetry collection, Jillian Weise investigates and challenges the ways that nondisabled writers represent disability in their work. From an acerbic letter calling out William Carlos Williams’s medical conviction that “poetry heals” to a reverse-perspective biohack of Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” to a stark chronicle of violence against “disabled women” in international headlines, no metaphor for “blind moon” or “deaf skies” goes unquestioned. Part invective, part love poem, Cyborg Detective holds a magnifying glass to the fetishization and marginalization of disabled people, in particular women, while claiming space and pride for the people who already use technology and cybernetic implants to survive.


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Cyborg Detective delivers a reckoning to the ableism of the Western Canon. In her latest poetry collection, Jillian Weise investigates and challenges the ways that nondisabled writers represent disability in their work. From an acerbic letter calling out William Carlos Williams’s medical conviction that “poetry heals” to a reverse-perspective biohack of Raymond Carver’s “C Cyborg Detective delivers a reckoning to the ableism of the Western Canon. In her latest poetry collection, Jillian Weise investigates and challenges the ways that nondisabled writers represent disability in their work. From an acerbic letter calling out William Carlos Williams’s medical conviction that “poetry heals” to a reverse-perspective biohack of Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” to a stark chronicle of violence against “disabled women” in international headlines, no metaphor for “blind moon” or “deaf skies” goes unquestioned. Part invective, part love poem, Cyborg Detective holds a magnifying glass to the fetishization and marginalization of disabled people, in particular women, while claiming space and pride for the people who already use technology and cybernetic implants to survive.

30 review for Cyborg Detective

  1. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    An in-your-face, wickedly funny collection. I learned much reading these poems.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Do yourself a favor and read this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Khadijah

    Fierce, funny, tender, layered—a brilliant intertwining of persona and the personal, both world-encompassing and interior. This book goes a long way toward creating a more accurate notion of what poetry can do in the world. Ignoring or erasing the lives and work and experiences of folks with disabilities, purposefully and intentionally as has been the prevailing social norm, gets called out raucously and beautifully in Cyborg Detective. Do the world and yourself a favor: read and share this book Fierce, funny, tender, layered—a brilliant intertwining of persona and the personal, both world-encompassing and interior. This book goes a long way toward creating a more accurate notion of what poetry can do in the world. Ignoring or erasing the lives and work and experiences of folks with disabilities, purposefully and intentionally as has been the prevailing social norm, gets called out raucously and beautifully in Cyborg Detective. Do the world and yourself a favor: read and share this book. PS—Make sure you read the notes section too!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul Scott

    JUDGING FROM BLURBS on books about the lives and experiences of the disabled, what the ordinarily-abled reader is hoping to find is something brave, inspirational, moving, and so on. Jillian Weise ain't having it. If you're looking for swelling orchestra uplift, keep looking. Here's what we'll do.We'll rope you to the podium and ask What do you have? What is it? If you refuse to answer then we call your doctor. Then we get to say You're an inspiration. Weise is a cyborg by virtue of having a sophistic JUDGING FROM BLURBS on books about the lives and experiences of the disabled, what the ordinarily-abled reader is hoping to find is something brave, inspirational, moving, and so on. Jillian Weise ain't having it. If you're looking for swelling orchestra uplift, keep looking. Here's what we'll do.We'll rope you to the podium and ask What do you have? What is it? If you refuse to answer then we call your doctor. Then we get to say You're an inspiration. Weise is a cyborg by virtue of having a sophisticated, programmable prosthetic leg (its cost equal, she notes, to that of a BMW convertible) and a detective by virtue of her capacity to zero in on anything that smacks of presumption, condescension, or just plain bullshit in what is written about disabilities by writers both canonical and long gone (W. C. Williams, Raymond Carver) and still living (no, I'm not going to tell you, buy the book already!). Smart, funny, enlightening, but if you are ordinarily-abled, it will probably make you cringe a few times, too, and that may be just as worthwhile as our being inspired. E.g., from "Imaginary Interview": Q. Explain, if you will, how you came to wear a prosthetic, and why this leg differs from others. A: Of course. The event. Everyone is always interested in the event. It is like a birthday party we all get to attend. I wonder if Weise knows Mike Ervin? That is a conversation I would like to eavesdrop on. Also--"Rahab" is one of the best Biblically-inspired contemporary poems I have ever come across. And--I was kinda-sorta hoping we would get a few more poems about Big Logos (see Weise's The Book of Goodbyes). Maybe he's out of the picture?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cade Leebron

    An atomic anti-ableist bomb of a book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amie Whittemore

    A fascinating collection that calls out ableism through direct, incisive critique. Weise's work is sharp, smart, and provocative. A very worthwhile read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Dancer

    I'm not literary enough get most of the references here, but I love Weise's style.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jen (Remembered Reads)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yuka

  11. 5 out of 5

    Imogen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam Day

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Breda Fallacy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Khadijah

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Barber

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ozbolt

  19. 5 out of 5

    Audacia Ray

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Nuernberger

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Valley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris Leidig

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suzannah Sinclair

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Ortiz

  26. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emanuel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Day Heisinger-Nixon

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam (RiverMooseReads)

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