From the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (3.2, 2009):
I sat down with celebrated author Stephen Kuusisto in the fall of 2008 in Iowa City, Iowa where he lives. I had read his first book of poems, Only Bread, Only Light, and his two memoirs, the hugely popular Planet of the Blind and the recently released Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening. I had also read his completed new manuscript of poems, Mornings with Borges, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2010. Having already met Steve when I invited him to give a reading and workshop at Grinnell College, I was familiar with his old guide dog, Vidal, who had just retired, but not his new dog, Nira, who seemed a paragon of affectionate placidity and navagational competence. Over several cups of coffee, we spoke about a great many things but kept circling back to questions of the lyric mode and its usefulness to the project of disability studies. Steve is a wildly energetic man, learned, unbelievably funny—a kind of walking surrealist. Think Johnny Carson meets André Breton meets the entire library at the University of Iowa, where he teaches in the graduate nonfiction program and the eye clinic at the medical college. He is also a passionate activist working on behalf of those with disabilities. A truly public intellectual, he has appeared on countless national and regional TV and radio programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dateline NBC, and NPR’s Talk of the Nation.