I've Heard the Vultures Singing
Field Notes on Poetry, Illness, and Nature
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During her days as a park ranger, Lucia Perillo loved nothing more than to brave the Cascade Mountains alone, taking special pride in her daring solo skis down the raw, unpatrolled slopes of Mount Rainier. Then, in her thirties, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In I've Heard the Vultures Singing, Perillo confronts, in stark but funny terms, the ironies of being someone with her history and gusto for life being suddenly unable to walk. (Ground-truthing is what biologists call entering an environment and surveying what is there via the senses of sight and sound.) These essays explore what it's like to experience desire as a sick person, how to lower one's expectations just enough for a wilderness experience, and how to navigate the vagaries of a disease that has no predictable trajectory. I've Heard the Vultures Singing records in unflinching, honest prose one woman's struggle to find her place in a difficult new world.
Trinity University Press, 9781595340313, 256pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
About the Author
Lucia Perillo (1958-2016) is the author of many collections of poetry: Dangerous Life, which won the Norma Farber Award for best first book; The Body Mutinies, which received the PEN Revson Foundation Fellowship and the Kate Tufts Poetry Award; The Oldest Map with the Name America; Luck Is Luck, which won the Kingsley Tufts Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Inseminating the Elephant and On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths. Perillo's poetry, essays, and short fiction have appeared in the Paris Review, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, and other magazines, and have been included in the Best American Poetry and Pushcart anthologies. She received a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 2000. She has taught at Syracuse University, Saint Martin's University, and Southern Illinois University.