WBEZ | Frida Kahlo http://www.wbez.org/tags/frida-kahlo Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Poet Sheila Black considers pain, disability, selfhood and ‘the problem of normal’ http://www.wbez.org/story/poet-sheila-black-considers-pain-disability-selfhood-and-%E2%80%98-problem-normal%E2%80%99-97579 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-23/AP071025036303.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-23/AP071025036303.jpg" style="width: 512px; height: 511px;" title="Kahlo's 1939 painting 'Los Dos Fridas.' (AP/Collection Museo de Arte Moderno)"></p><p>Sheila Black was born with a rare medical condition that gave her crooked legs. Then when she was 13 years old, she underwent a procedure to straighten them -- although the word “procedure” might not adequately describe what she went through.</p><p>“I had my legs radically straightened,” she says. In the first of a number of surgeries Black would have over the course of her life, doctors performed a double osteotomy -- breaking her legs in six places, then re-pinning the bones back together. “I walked a lot better [after the surgery],” Black recalls. “But I had the strange sense of having betrayed the person I was.” Black elaborated: “For me the question of disability was really a problem of normal. The problem was all the normal people out there."</p><p>Black grew into an award-winning poet whose creative interests include what a collaborator has described as “anomalous embodiment,” or what one might more simply describe as physical disability. In one poem she channels that moment of teenage post-surgical self-betrayal, and imagines herself as two people – the person she was before the surgery, and the person she became afterward, as if existing side by side:</p><p style="margin-left: 0.5in;">She<br> was me before I became so fallen. Sneaking<br> Salem cigarettes with the other girls on the fourth<br> floor bathroom. Trying so hard to fit in you could<br> see that desire—a sheen on my skin. The year I<br> learned to walk again—a wheelchair, crutches, crutches<br> discarded, everyone said how it was a miracle, so<br> wonderful, such a great, great thing, as if I could now<br> be welcomed into the club of people. A door closed<br> somewhere, and she was behind it.</p><p>The poem’s title, “Los Dos Fridas or Script for the Erased,” alludes to the title of a 1939 self-portrait by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, in which Kahlo also depicts two versions of herself side by side: one injured and one healthy, arteries intertwined. Kahlo was in a bus crash at age 18 that left her with a horrifying array of broken bones – pelvis, spine, clavicle, ribs, plus 11 fractures in her leg – as well as permanent damage to her reproductive system. She went through more than 30 surgeries over the course of her life, and was often in so much pain that she had to remain bedridden for weeks at a time.&nbsp;</p><p>Black says that she too experienced extreme pain because of her disability and surgeries, but that Kahlo’s work and legacy proved to be a powerful example of working through the pain. “Frida Kahlo taught me to see [pain] as sort of a forceful, creative thing,” Black explains. “A way of making me pay attention to the world around me.”</p><p>Together with co-editors Jennifer Bartlett and Michael Northen, Black helped assemble the anthology <em>Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability</em> (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), which collects the work of several differently-abled writers.</p><p>Nine poets from the anthology read in Chicago earlier this month, including Black. You can hear her recite “Los Dos Fridas” in the audio above.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified’s <em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Sheila Black read at an event presented by </em><a href="http://www.accessliving.org/"><em>Access Living</em></a><em> in March. Click </em><a href="../../story/beauty-verb-97306"><em>here </em></a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/poet-sheila-black-considers-pain-disability-selfhood-and-%E2%80%98-problem-normal%E2%80%99-97579 Judy Chicago talks about her new book Frida Kahlo: Face to Face http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/judy-chicago-talks-about-her-new-book-frida-kahlo-face-face <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-November/2010-11-04/fridaRESIZE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.judychicago.com/">Judy Chicago</a> is an artist, author, educator and feminist. She&rsquo;s always encouraged her fellow artists to break artistic boundaries, even if doing so defies social norms.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>As a feminist artist, Chicago also studies and writes about the work of other women.</p><p>Her most recent book explores Mexico&rsquo;s most iconic female artist, Frida Kahlo. In <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;source=web&amp;cd=4&amp;ved=0CCwQFjAD&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FFrida-Kahlo-Face-Judy-Chicago%2Fdp%2F3791343602&amp;rct=j&amp;q=judy%20chicago%20frida%20kahlo&amp;ei=OrjSTP7eN4L78Aa9wdUj&amp;usg=AFQjCNEd4A6nCqUUkBaBQUqrncexMqGz0Q&amp;sig2=ltJcyJas8KvOCDNawbQXhA&amp;cad=rja">Frida Kahlo: Face to Face</a> Chicago breaks through some of the ways Kahlo&rsquo;s art has been framed and--to her mind--limited, historically.</p><p>Judy Chicago talks about the Mexican icon&rsquo;s art November 4 at 6 p.m.</p><p>The event takes place in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chipublib.org/events/details/id/53584/">Cindy Pritzker Auditorium</a> of the Harold Washington Library on State Street.</p><p><em>Music Button: Bajofondo, &quot;Mateo Y Cabrera&quot;, from the CD Bajofondo Tango Club, (Universal International) </em></p></p> Thu, 04 Nov 2010 13:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/judy-chicago-talks-about-her-new-book-frida-kahlo-face-face