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Jul. 25th, 2008 | 11:29 pm
location: www.homofactuspress.com

Cripple Poetics: A Love Story
by Petra Kuppers & Neil Marcus
With Photos by Lisa Steichmann


Who is Neil Marcus?

Neil is an icon in US disability culture. In the 1980s and 90s, he performed his stage show Storm Reading over 300 times all over the US, the UK and Canada. Parts of it were on Maria Shriver’s Sunday Today Show. Neil has also written and performed other plays in the SF Bay Area, and is a frequent guest in Butoh and Contact Improv Festivals. His poetry has found its way to many people, on the back of fridge magnets, policy statements for NGOs, university reading lists, and many people’s private stash of important things to know about life. Neil is still recognized in the street for his role in an episode of ER. Mainly, though, Neil engages in his own street theatre show, singing, clowning and performing in the everyday.

More info about his work, his influence and his life can be found at these sites:
out of date, but gives a sense: http://www.disabilityhistory.org/people_marcus.html

And this University of California Berkeley site features his whole life history, as part of a disability history archive:

Who is Petra Kuppers?

Petra is a disability culture activist, a community artist and an Associate Professor of English, Theater and Dance and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She grew up in rural Germany and has hitchhiked all over Europe, sometimes with her wheelchair. She has worked as a foreign correspondent for horror movie magazines, as an art worker in hospices in New Zealand and Wales, as a laborer in a car factory, as a nature warden’s assistant in a Welsh National Park, as a coordinator and reviewer for Film Festivals in Cologne and Paris, as a singer in cabaret night clubs, and as a visiting artist in a bird sanctuary. She enjoys her public duties as a socialization provider for doggies who have never been petted by people in wheelchairs.

She is also Artistic Director of The Olimpias, a performance collaborative which investigates disability art and culture. www.umich.edu/~petra
She writes about her genre-crossing work:
‘I’ve been a dance and performance artist for many years, but I only relatively recently began to see myself as a poet. It happened after a conference paper: I had danced my paper with a collaborator while someone read out my words. Afterwards, in the restrooms, someone came up to me and told me that she remembered a poem I had published years back in Women and Performance (part of the script of a show). I had never considered the performance detritus, all the wonderful words that emerge as part of my performances, as poetry. I love reading poetry, and have written many essays about disability culture poets and their work. But now, as my body is becoming more tired, I am glad to find poetry performance a way of extending my movement art practice. Poems are for me movement scores for vocal cords, lungs, diaphragms, the sensuous surfaces of the body’s insides. When I read a poem, I dance.’ 

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