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Jillian Weise

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Jillian Weise
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Jillian Weise was born in Houston, Texas, in 1981. She studied at Florida State University; the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she was the Fred Chappell Fellow; and the University of Cincinnati.

Weise is the author of The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions, 2013), which received the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, which recognizes a superior second book of poetry by an American poet. Her debut poetry collection, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, was published by Soft Skull Press in 2007.

As Laughlin Award judge Brenda Shaughnessy wrote about Weise's winning book:

Jillian Weise’s crackling second collection is called The Book of Goodbyes—that’s “Goodbyes” plural. For it turns out there are so very many ways to say it. This is no ordinary see ya later/maybe next life, no firm and clear Dear John letter, though epistolary laments and last words pierce the reader as if Big Logos (the book’s nickname for the beloved) broke our hearts as well as the speaker’s. But this book’s smart, endearing, self-consciously self-dramatizing speaker is the heartbreaking heroine of the book, and she is NOT HAVING IT. That is, if she’s leaving, she’ll do it fiercely and with such full-throated articulation and insight that it won’t be easy to let her go....This book reminds us that the pain of love and loss, in the hands of a powerful wordsmith such as Weise, might just morph into passion, thrill, strength. And that love-suffering can bring us ever closer to lovability because through it we learn to connect, renew, transform.

Weise is also the author of the novel The Colony (Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, 2010). Her other honors include a Fulbright Fellowship and the 2013 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award from BOA Editions.


The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions, 2013)
The Colony (Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, 2010)
The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (Soft Skull Press, 2007)


Jillian Weise: Awards Ceremony Reading

Jillian Weise Awards Ceremony Reading Poets Forum 2013

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by this poet

I want to be disability for you.
Make new signs for you.
They are saying things about us

online in their underwear.
The listserv is blowing up.
Ableist verse, ableist verse

and I’m talking to you.
I’m a green circle for you
and there you go again

into my cover letters.
Pinned your last dispatch
to my Outlook
begin long before you hear them
and gain speed and come out of 
the same place as other words.
They should have their own
place to come from, the elbow
perhaps, since elbows look
funny and never weep. Why
are you proud of me? I said
goodbye to you forty times.
I see your point. That is
an achievement unto itself

At home, a sixteen-year-old son
and window treatments and walls
to paint and “How was your day?”
On the web there are no days
and no seasons and no oil changes
for the Subaru. “No one important.”
At the motel, flat pillows, a lamp 
tall as his son in the corner and