Accept, Adapt, and Excel:
A Portrait of Janet I. Buck
by Mark Taylor
The introduction is finished and a shy, diminutive poet with a permanent smile walks to the podium. Within minutes, her audience is dabbing at eyes and laughing at her self-effacing humor.
Watching her go to the front of the auditorium, they have little inkling that she is a leg amputee; her limp hardly noticeable. What they know is that she's a two time Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, a winner of the H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence, and has been featured in hundreds of print and internet journals world wide.
Some might even know that in 2000, her poem "Acrylic Thighs" was on display at the United Nations Exhibit Hall in New York City, translated into 5 languages, paired with original artwork, and is now on tour with the "One-Heart, One-World" Exhibit.
Most have little clue that they are about to hear one of the giants of the poetry world pour her soul out before them.
They will hear her gun blasts of honesty regarding disability, the roles of men and women, and alcoholism. About illness, family strife, and grief.
Urgency spreads like wild fire and her grip on hearts is undebatable.
She says, "I am a teacher (professionally), a student of crisis by virtue of fate, and a writer because words ring doorbells in my heart and I must answer or die."
It wasn't always this way. As Janet says, "I was born into a heritage of silence in regard to my difference, a box of broken pretzels with stoic mustard on the side.
It took me 35 years just to say the word 'stump', much less write it."
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