Saturday, November 27, 2010

Laura Hershey, Poet

The death of poet Laura Hershey last night came as a shock to most who knew her work. She was the embodiment of the disability rights/activist poet. In an age when poets with disabilities find themselves increasingly challenged to choose between the poet as artist and the activist as doer, she continued to be both. Laura said that her visit to Nairobi to attend a women’s forum in 1985 solidified her resolve to use her use emerging talent as a poet to work for the betterment of all people with disabilities. Though she respected the talents of those in poetic academe, poetry for Laura meant social engagement. Her most widely known poem “You Get Proud By Practicing” was turned into a poster, recited by choral groups and often cited at disability rights gatherings. Her spirit of dedication will be missed.

When she passed away Laura was just completing an interview with Wordgathering, the online journal of disability and poetry. The interview is scheduled appear in mid-December.


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