Conversation with M. Leona Godin | There Plant Eyes
Conversation with M. Leona Godin | There Plant EyesOnline
Join us for a conversation with M. Leona Godin, the author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, a probing, witty, and deeply insightful history of blindness—in Western culture and literature, and in the author’s own experience—that ranges from Homer and Milton to Louis Braille, Helen Keller, and Stevie Wonder. Joining her in conversation is Deafblind author and editor, Elsa Sjunneson.
Godin begins her fascinating, wide-ranging study with an exploration of how the idea of sight is inextricably linked with knowledge and understanding; how “blindness” has, for millennia, been used as a metaphor for ignorance; and how, in metaphorical terms, blindness can also be made to suggest a door to artistic or spiritual transcendence. And she makes clear how all of this has obscured the reality of blindness, as a consequence of which many blind people have to deal not just with their disability but also with expectations that they possess “superpowers.” Godin illuminates the often surprising history of both the physiological condition and the ideas that have attached to it. She incorporates an analysis of blindness in art and literature (from King Lear to Star Wars) and culture (assumptions of the blind as pure and magically wise) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) and a recounting of her own experience of gradually losing sight over the course of three decades. Altogether, Godin gives us a revelation of the centrality of blindness and vision to humanity’s understanding of itself and the world.
M. Leona Godin is a writer, performer, and educator who is blind. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times; Playboy; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Catapult, where she writes the column, “A Blind Writer’s Notebook.” She was a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow and has written and produced two theatrical productions: The Star of Happiness, based on Helen Keller’s time performing on vaudeville, and The Spectator & the Blind Man, about the invention of Braille. She founded the online magazine Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste; not specifically for, but welcoming to, blind readers and writers. She holds a PhD in English Literature from NYU and has lectured on art, accessibility, disability, and technology at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, and the American Printing House for the Blind, among other venues.
Elsa Sjunneson is a Deafblind author and editor living in Seattle, Washington. Her fiction and nonfiction writing has been praised as “eloquence and activism in lockstep" and has been published in dozens of venues around the world. She has been a Hugo Award finalist seven times, and has won Hugo, Aurora, and BFA awards for her editorial work. When she isn't writing, Sjunneson works to dismantle structural ableism and rebuild community support for disabled people everywhere. Her debut memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman's Fight to End Ableism releases in October of 2021 from Tiller Press.
We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.
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- Wednesday, June 9, 2021
- 5:00pm - 6:00pm Eastern Time
- Lewes Public Library