Brooklyn-born poet Phyllis Koestenbaum is senior scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University. "Admission of Failure" appeared in a collection of Koestenbaum's prose poems in 2001. In it the narrator, a middle-aged wife and mother, responds in a strong and perhaps startling way to the young man seated at an adjoining restaurant table. This poem raises provocative questions about difference, disability, and the nature of empathy. What enables empathy? What stands in its way?
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Doris Day and Kitschy Melodies by Phyllis Koestenbaum. Questa Press Poetry Series, 2001.
Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.
What assumptions do we make about people who are disabled or able-bodied?How do we recognize sameness but acknowledge difference(s)?How do we respond to strangers?What does empathy look like?What prevents us from being compassionate?