elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Kenny Fries (born September 22, 1960)

Kenny Fries (born September 22, 1960) is an American memoirist and poet. He is the author of The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007), Body, Remember: A Memoir (1997), and editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out (1997). He received a 2009 Creative Capital grant in Innovative Literature, the 2007 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, the Gregory Kolovakos Award, a Creative Arts Fellowship from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the National Endowment, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Japan.

Fries was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated with an MFA from Columbia University's School for the Arts. He currently teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

Kenny Fries was born to a fainting father and a grandmother who ran through the hospital screaming “My daughter gave birth to a freak!” Fries entered the world with only three toes on each foot and undersized legs that were twisted like pretzels and lacked the basic number of bones. At the time of his birth, there was no medical name for his condition so it was referred to as “congenital deformities of the lower extremities.” When he was an infant, many doctors advised Fries' parents to amputate his legs, but instead, his parents took the advice of a prominent doctor who was convinced that one day Kenny could walk. From the age of 6 months until he was in the fifth grade, Fries underwent many surgeries in attempt to “fix” his legs. However, for most of his childhood Kenny was able to get around fine and even participate in sports. Fries opens up about his childhood experiences in his book “Body, Remember: A Memoir” in which he uses his surgical scars as a guide to his book.

Kenny Fries, 1994, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123792)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Kenny Fries first officially started writing in 1988 after he had begun attending Millay Colony for the Arts. The majority of Fries' books and poems were written due to his experiences of being a disabled, gay, Jewish man. Some of the writings that Fries has written include: Body, Remember: A Memoir (2003), Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007), Anesthesia: Poems by Kenny Fries (1996), Desert Walking: Poems (2000), The Healing Notebooks (1990) and Night After Night: Poems (1984). Some of the scholarly writings written by Kenny Fries include: Songs of Whitman (2003), Comedy is Not a Crutch (2001), and The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory (2007) and Where Ecstasy Might Reside (1995).

Kenny Fries received the 2007 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the study of Bigotry and Human Rights. He was a Creative Arts Fellow of the Japan- US Friendship commission and the National Endowment for the Arts and a Fulbright scholar to Japan. He teaches in the Creative Writing MFA Program at Goddard College. In 2009 Kenny Fries received Yaddo Residency. In 2010 he received Ledig House International writers Residency. Fries has also collaborated with composers Kumiko Takahashi and Yuka Takechi and singer Mika Kimula on the new music work In the Gardens of Japan, which has been performed in Tokyo, Yokohama, and New York City. Kenny Fries also loves to travel. He has been to Japan many of times. Kenny fries has also received a grant in innovative Literature from the Creative Capitol Foundation to complete one of his books.

Kenny Fries graduated in 1977 from high school and went on to pursue a degree in English and American Literature, at Brandeis University. He also attended Grad school and received a Masters Degree in Playwriting at Columbia University.

Kenny fries is an associate Professor in the graduate program at Goddard College in Plainfield. He also teaches a creative writing class in MFA at Goddard College.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenny_Fries

Further Readings:

Body, Remember: A Memoir (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies) by Kenny Fries
Series: Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (September 15, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0299190544
ISBN-13: 978-0299190545
Amazon: Body, Remember: A Memoir (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies)
Amazon Kindle: Body, Remember: A Memoir (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies)

In this poetic, introspective memoir, Kenny Fries illustrates his intersecting identities as gay, Jewish, and disabled. While learning about the history of his body through medical records and his physical scars, Fries discovers just how deeply the memories and psychic scars run. As he reflects on his relationships with his family, his compassionate doctor, the brother who resented his disability, and the men who taught him to love, he confronts the challenges of his life. Body, Remember is a story about connection, a redemptive and passionate testimony to one man’s search for the sources of identity and difference.

More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices

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Tags: author: kenny fries, particular voices

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