Poet, performance artist, and disability studies scholar Jim Ferris was born in Illinois. During childhood, he was in and out of hospitals as doctors attempted to remedy a condition in which one leg grew faster than the other. His experiences with the medical establishment and its culture became important to his work as a poet and a scholar; he holds the Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo. His groundbreaking essay “The Enjambed Body: A Step Toward a Crippled Poetics” appeared in the Georgia Review.

Ferris’s first book of poems, The Hospital Poems (2004), won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Ferris himself has called it a “memoir in verse,” but Edward Hirsch, the contest’s judge, noted that the collection “crosses a divide and reaches out to the crippled and disabled, to what is sick, wounded, and orphaned in us.” Ferris’s other books include the chapbook Facts of Life (2005) and Slouching Towards Guantanamo (Main Street Rag, 2011). He holds a doctorate in performance studies and has performed his own work widely.
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