Precipice Fruit ~ Sara Biggs Chaney
About the Book:
Precipice Fruit tells the story of Jenna, a young girl with an autistic spectrum diagnosis whose spirit transcends the stigmatizing forces around her. Often pigeon holed, manhandled, and misunderstood by her doctors and teachers, Jenna blossoms into a young girl with a perspective entirely her own. Different points of view clash against each other in this series of poems—the cold objectivity of the clinician, the private terror and faith of the mother, the punitive decree of the teacher, the spirited self-narration of the child. These voices struggle against each other, leaving us to consider how institutions author children with a disabilities, and the harm they do in the process.
About the Author:
Sara Biggs Chaney received her B.A. from Barnard College in 1999 and her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2008. Since 2005, she has taught first-year and upper-level writing courses in Dartmouth’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. Her poetry has appeared in Stone Highway Review, burntdistrict, Corium Magazine, and a number of other places.
Precipice Fruit was amazing! It accomplishes many of the things I enjoy about poetry, with its rich language, the juxtaposition of cold-analytical language with “the real,” poetry as social activism and awareness.
The appropriation of “diagnosis” language–from both health care and school systems–shows just how harmful the language is, as Chaney’s words serve to reclaim language, reclaim identity, and reclaim emotional well-being.
~ Dennis Etzel Jr.