In her third collection of poems, Jillian Weise delivers a reckoning to the ableism of the Western Canon. These poems investigate and challenge the ways that nondisabled writers have appropriated disabled bodies, from calling out William Carlos Williams to biohacking Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” to chronicling the ongoing headlines of violence against disabled women. Part invective, part love poem, Cyborg Detective holds a magnifying glass to the marginalization and fetishization of disabled people while claiming space and pride for the people who already use technology and cybernetic implants every day.
If cyborg enunciations are the future
avant-garde, then what are real cyborgs?
Do we have to be avant or can we
be ourselves? Sometimes you all
come in and need us to assert
Of course, we trust you.
We won't ask for inclusion.
Do with us as you wish.
Or the nurse comes in and says,
"Oh no. You should have had
that shot hours ago," as if
we are responsible for time.
Call the shots. Cheap shot,
big shot, give it a shot, parting shot.
Do we count yet? Not by a long—
“With a voice that is sassy, funny, and justifiably bitter, Weise sets ableist America — and America's literary subcultures — straight about a number of things in her third collection, in which every line snaps and many of them sting.”
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR Poetry Preview 2019
“Here—and almost nowhere else in American poetry—we have an anarchic sharp-fanged satirist of the very first rank.”
“Cyborg Detective looks into the past as it pushes into the future. Moving deftly between engaging with canonical authors and broken engagements, between Torah and Tinder, Weise focuses on the many ways we see the parts and not the whole and the consequences thereof.”
—American Literary Review
“Always sharp-witted, sophisticatedly savvy, and commanding in surprisingly vulnerable ways, Weise’s poems remind me that the stakes are high, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.”
“Anger, clarity, an unrelenting, unforgiving ear; funny, hot, intelligent, wise, challenging, outrageous and cool. Jillian Weise is simply among the small league of my favorite poets on earth. With Cyborg Detective she’s even more so. She’s ONLY AWAKE and freely and incisively shares all that comes with that awesome and sinuous burden.”
“The poems in Jillian Weise’s Cyborg Detective concern the nature of affliction. Which is not to say it’s not humorous; it is, in fact, hilarious, deeply and darkly so. Populated with a variety of voices that speak with a sort of sly candor that can only be prompted by the most intimate of inquiries, this book is a true ventriloquist act. With a thrilling lack of remorse, Weise targets the mundane viciousness of everyday hypocrisy like a heat-seeking missile.”
“These poems are brilliant and funny and sad and utterly essential. They will completely unravel you in the most marvelous possible way.”
“Cyborg Detective investigates the way we peer into the Abled world, and finds confusion and terror in the reflection. It is a relief and joy to read.”
—Karolyn Gehrig, creator of #HospitalGlam
The poem "Attack List" continues on Twitter @AttackList.