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Polio Boulevard: A Memoir

Polio Boulevard: A Memoir

by Karen Chase


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Finalist for the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award presented by Hopewell Publications

In 1954, Karen Chase was a ten-year-old girl playing Monopoly in the polio ward when the radio blared out the news that Dr. Jonas Salk had developed the polio vaccine. The discovery came too late for her, and Polio Boulevard is Chase's unique chronicle of her childhood while fighting polio. From her lively sickbed she experiences puppy love, applies to the Barbizon School of Modeling, and dreams of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a polio patient who became President of the United States.

Chase, now an accomplished poet who survived her illness, tells a story that flows backward and forward in time from childhood to adulthood. Woven throughout are the themes of how private and public history get braided together, how imagination is shaped when your body can't move but your mind can, and how sexuality blooms in a young girl laid up in bed. Chase's imagination soars in this narrative of illness and recovery, a remarkable blend of provocative reflection, humor, and pluck.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438452821
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Series: Excelsior Editions
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Karen Chase is the author of two volumes of poetry: Kazimierz Square and Bear, as well as Land of Stone: Breaking Silence Through Poetry and Jamali-Kamali: A Tale of Passion in Mughal India.

Table of Contents


The Bus Back



This Is My Father Talking



Hospital Mail


Bowing Down

Water Is Complicated

This Is My Brother Talking

Hospital Snapshots

Inside the Whirlpool



Grandma Celia Mail

Take Things in Stride

Bustiers, Braces, and Noise

Try This

Clothes and Hair

The Swap

This Is Patsy Talking


Mr. Dark

The Cave

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