On Blindness in Poetry

By Reja-e Busailah

I am told that I lost my eyesight during the seventh month of my life. I was educated in boarding schools, in schools specially for the blind, and in public schools. I taught the blind when I was still living in Palestine, where I was born in 1929, when I lived in New York City, when I worked in Kuwait; and I hold a master’s degree in special education. Still, I should be embarrassed to admit that studying in a scholarly fashion the phenomenon of blindness (“disability”) has never seriously interested me. I have a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University, and I taught literature for some thirty years. I am now a retired professor emeritus. I have enjoyed poetry all my life, writing it in Arabic when a child and later in English. I may say I have used poetry to react to all things that have interested me including, of course, the phenomenon of blindness, not academically, but as a poet. I have lived with blindness all my life, and have become accustomed t…

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