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Infertilities, A Curation

Edited by Elizabeth Horn, Maria Novotny, and Robin Silbergleid

Art, Creative Nonfiction, Health Care

Published: September 2023
ISBN: 9780814350652
Pages: 272 Size: 7 x 10
Illustrations: 55 color illus.
Published: September 2023
ISBN: 9780814350669

Through personal narrative, poetry, and visual art, stories of infertility that are far more nuanced than statistics, insurance diagnostic codes, and treatment plans, are brought to light. These works highlight the varied perspectives of individuals who have lived with infertility and include perspectives from women, men, and nonbinary and transgender individuals, as well as heterosexual couples, single parents by choice, and lesbian and queer-identified couples. This collection intentionally makes visible the emotional depths of infertility. From diagnosis and treatment, adoption, or living childfree, to miscarriage and pregnancy loss, editors, writers, and artists explore the range of experiences with infertility and their psychological, physical, and emotional impacts in all aspects of life. This carefully curated anthology reveals that infertility cannot be reduced to a singular narrative; instead, it is an assemblage of multiple embodied moments. Whether a reader comes to this book as someone personally affected by infertility or someone who wants to learn more about the experiences of individuals facing reproductive loss, Infertilities, A Curation invites readers to consider how creative practices such as art and writing can aid in efforts to heal individual traumas and more broadly as means of advocacy.

ELIZABETH HORN has been a health care communicator for over twenty years and is the cofounder and codirector of The ART of Infertility, for which she has curated thirty exhibits since its inception in 2014. The ART of Infertility was the 2018 recipient of the Hope Award for Innovation given by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association for its work communicating patient experiences through arts programming. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

MARIA NOVOTNY is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and codirector of The ART of Infertility. Her research on infertility and reproductive justice has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, Rhetoric Review, and Technical Communication Quarterly. The ART of Infertility was the 2018 recipient of the Hope Award for Innovation given by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association for its work communicating patient experiences through arts programming. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

ROBIN SILBERGLEID is a professor of English at Michigan State University. She is a writer, teacher, and scholar who has led numerous writing workshops and professional conference panels on topics of related to infertility, single motherhood, and gender. She is the author of several books, including the memoir Texas Girl, and the poetry collection The Baby Book. She lives in East Lansing, Michigan.

Contributors Include:
Barrie Arliss, Nicole Askevold, Krys Malcolm Belc, Katie Benson, Jennifer Berney, Jamie Blicher, Kate Bradley, Sally Butcher, Jo C., Denise Callen, Raina Cowan, Sarah Clark Davis, Carla Davis, Molina Dayal, Jessie Dietz-Bieske, La-Anna Douglas, Betty Doyle, Brit Ellis, Ryan Ferrante, Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez, Foz Foster, Faye Glen, Maya Grobel, Lisa Grunberger, Cha Gutiérrez, Adi Hadar, Cynthia Herrick, Elizabeth Horn, Roxanna Jenkins, Kevin Jordan, Douglas Kearney, Cheryl Klein, Annie Kuo, Dan Louis Lane, Siobhan Lyons, Ashley MacLure, Marjorie Maddox, Margaret A. Mason, Sarah Matthews, Christine McDonough, Sharon McKellar, Erika Meitner, Annamarie Torpey Miyasaki, Christine Moffat, Noah Moskin, Montserrat Duran Muntadas, Maria Novotny, Shannon Novotny, Eva Nye, Poonam Parag, Jaimie Lee Peterson, Matt Quarterman, Jenny Rough, Carla Sameth, Lauree Schloss, Leanne Schuetz, Gwenn Seemel, Robin Silbergleid, Marissa McClure Sweeney, Amy Traylor, Crystal Tursich, Monica Wiesblott, Michele Wolf, Kelly Zechmeister-Smith

A gorgeous, moving, and deeply important book. The art this book showcases, and the short stories behind each piece, remind us that the complicated, painful, and often invisible experience of infertility is both shared and singular. Highly recommended for scholars of reproductive health and justice and especially for people experiencing the pain of infertility who would like to feel a little less alone.

– Jenell Johnson, professor of communication arts, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Infertilities, A Curation offers a one-of-a-kind contribution about the experience of existing within the liminal space of infertility. It speaks to and with ongoing discussions of health communication, rhetoric, gender, sex, and identity. The editors and contributors do a beautiful job of dimensionalizing infertility, bringing art, affect, theory, literature, and passion to the table in ways that are groundbreaking and heartbreaking all at the same time.

– Robin Jensen, professor of communication, University of Utah

This daring collection harnesses the power of the arts to dismantle isolation and stigma, letting the light shine through to reveal hidden layers of the infertility experience. With its diverse voices and vignettes, Infertilities, A Curation deepens our understanding of infertility’s profound and complex reverberations.

– Laura Seftel, LMHC, ATR-BC, art therapist, author of Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts, and founder of The Secret Club Project: Artists on Pregnancy Loss

This is a beautiful anthology about a very difficult thing, which so many people go through and yet so often feel alone in. The inventive variety of artistic expressions represent how individually infertility is experienced. For readers who have been isolated in infertility, here is community.

– Meg Lemke, editor-in-chief of MUTHA Magazine

Infertilities, A Curation offers an honest expression of experiences with infertility. The artworks and narratives in this book reveal the complexity of this condition and the profound personal journeys along its path. Infertilities, A Curation should be required reading in every health humanities curriculum—particularly at this time of vulnerability around reproductive health.

– Lisa Erdman, MFA, DA, Humanities Postdoctoral Scholar, Penn State College of Medicine

While I was moved by each individual piece, the power of Infertilities, A Curation exists as a collection. Constructed as a care-full curation of visual art, poetry, and creative nonfiction, the text offers a ‘visual and textual performance of infertility.’ This creative-critical form invites the reader to feel and see themselves in and in between, within and among the lives and experiences of the artists and writers. In being offered intimate access to the ways others have struggled with their own assumptions about love, fertility, and family, we are gifted an opportunity to reflect on our own vulnerability in these areas whether infertility has directly impacted our lives or not. And maybe that’s the actual gift of this work. The idea that whether any of us believes it, we are all impacted by the white heterosexist narratives about childbearing and family sovereignty that continue to dominate our medical and legal systems. I would recommend this book to anyone who understands and sees themself as part of a family—chosen, biological, or otherwise.

– Ames Hawkins, author of These are Love(d) Letters (Wayne State University Press)