With his newest book, Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey, Stephen A. Kuusisto ’78 has written “a lyrical love letter to guide dogs everywhere,” as the publisher notes.
In the book, Kuusisto, who was born legally blind, recounts how his life changed when, after being laid off from his teaching job and needing to travel to find work, he was paired with his Labrador named Corky. Exploring travel, religion, music and art, Kuusisto’s memoir gives “readers and animal lovers terrific insight into not only his experience with blindness, but also the unshakable bond between a guide dog and its owner”(Publishers Weekly).
Recalling the writing of the book in a PBS NewsHour interview, Kuusisto said, “As this book proceeded, as I’m writing about what Corky and I did together…I began to realize, this is about my opening up and becoming a larger, more courageous, open, curious, flexible, and outgoing person, a person who I didn’t know existed.”
Kuusisto is the author of Planet of the Blind and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening, as well as the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light and Letters to Borges.
After graduating from Hobart with a B.A. in English, Kuusisto received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. A Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at Ohio State University, the University of Iowa and Hobart and William Smith. He currently holds a University Professorship at Syracuse where he serves as Director of Inter-disciplinary Programming and Outreach for the Burton Blatt Institute which advances the economic, civic, social, and social participation of people with disabilities. With his wife, Kuusisto co-founded Kaleidoscope Connections, LLC, through which he gives frequent public talks in the U.S. and abroad about diversity, disability, education and public policy.