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On Thursday, September 14, at 4:30 p.m., author Stephen Kuusisto will read from his memoirs and poetry in the Page Commons Room of Cotter Union at Colby College in Waterville. Kuusisto is the author of several books including “Planet of the Blind: A Memoir” (1998) and the forthcoming “Only Bread Only Light” (October 2000). The event is open to the public and free of charge.
“Planet of the Blind” examines Kuusisto’s experience growing up blind in a sighted world and coming to accept his blindness. Born with one eye capable of 20/200 vision and the other unseeing, Kuusisto was led by the insistence of his mother and the ignorance of the society around him to make an elaborate and harrowing attempt to appear sighted. His efforts were both life-threatening and humiliating. The almost inconceivable effort of maintaining his sighted pretense led to a range of self-destructive behavior, from obesity to anorexia, from booze and cigarettes to drugs and perilous clambers up fire escapes.
Kuusisto graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, was a Fulbright scholar in Finland and taught creative writing at Hobart College for seven years. Currently Kuusisto is director of student services for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a training school in New York where the blind are matched with guide dogs and trained to use them. He will teach creative writing at Ohio State University this fall.