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601 Tully presents Word Thursday, featuring poetry of Stephen Kuusisto

February 03, 2012

Valentina Palladino

The 601 Tully Center will host its February Word Thursday event as an open mic poetry session with acclaimed writer, poet and disability advocate Stephen Kuusisto. The Word Thursday reading series takes place on the third Thursday of each month and features a local artist’s work, as well as poetry sessions open for community members to share their work. The event will take place on Feb. 16 at 601 Tully St. in Syracuse, beginning at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and ASL will be available.

kuusistoKuusisto is a University Professor at Syracuse University and director of the Renee Crown University Honors Program, and professor of disability studies in the School of Education. He is author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Planet of the Blind” (Delta, 1998), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year award winner. His collection of travel essays, “Eavesdropping” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2006), answers the question: “Why travel anywhere if you can’t see?” A graduate of the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, Kuusisto’s work unites literary writing with scholarship on the social construction of normalcy and the history of disabilities.

His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The New York Times, Harper’s, Poetry, Narrative, Books From Finland, Disability Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability, “Staring Back: An Anthology of Disability Literature,” and The Washington Post. At the Word Thursday event, he’ll be reading from “Planet of the Blind” and his poetry collection, titled “Only Bread, Only Light” (Copper Canyon Press, 2000).

Participants are encouraged to come early and sign up for an open mic spot before the featured speaker takes the stage. Each participant should bring one to three short poems to share to ensure that all speakers have time to present.

The 601 Tully Center acts as a home for creative practice between local artists, community members and scholars in the co-production of culture. School of Education professor of art education Marion Wilson, her rotating team of 54 Syracuse students and neighbors, and Anda French of French 2Design created the center as a contemporary art space for people to share creativity. The center also houses a public events area, classroom space, a teaching garden and a bookstore.

For more information about 601 Tully, visit, or contact Poet & Literary Events Coordinator Robert Mengert at

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