Helen Keller Tries To Tell You Her Story (Despite Your Helen Keller Jokes)

On to the black stage she steps. You believe you hear her cane tap tapping, then stop. Papers rustle. Suddenly you are blinded by a brilliant light. The light, emanating from a lamp on her head like that of a miner, creates dark smudges of her facial features. Under the brilliant light and shadow face, you see what appears to… Read more

THE HAND OF THE WORLD: Helen Keller on Social Blindness

[From Out of the Dark: Essays, Letters, and Addresses on Physical and Social Vision (1913). This text has been lightly edited for apparent scanning errors and hyperlinked by me] As I write this, I am sitting in a pleasant house, in a sunny, wide-windowed study filled with plants and flowers. Here I sit, warmly clad, secure against want, sure that… Read more

Helen Keller’s Vaudeville Q & A

  What is Miss Keller’s age? There is no age on the vaudeville stage.   Does Miss Keller think of marriage? Yes. Are you proposing to me?   Does talking tire you? Did you ever hear of a woman who tired of talking?   Do you close your eyes when you sleep? I guess I do, but I never stayed… Read more

The Play World: Helen Keller Writes About Vaudeville

[“The Play World” is Chapter 13 of Midstream: My Later Life, 1929, in which Keller describes her experience of vaudeville and the circumstances that led her to it. I lightly edited and hyperlinked it from a scan of the original.] THE picture was not a financial success. My sense of pride mutinies against my confession; but we are the kind… Read more

Resonating With the Visible, genesis of a Poem

I was sewing–I hand-sew, as you can read about in Sewing Blind–and listening to the series of interviews Bill Moyers had with Joseph Campbell in the last year of his life (1987), collectively called The Power of Myth, when I heard Moyers preface his next question with this: “We talked about the effect of the hunting plain on mythology, this… Read more

The Sea Spells, Helen Keller’s Favorite Books

“Books have been my most intimate companions,” wrote Helen Keller in a letter to a suitor in 1922. There can be little doubt that Helen derived much pleasure from the solitary communion of reading. That much of this pleasure was escapist in the extreme, she freely admits, “More than at any other time, when I hold a beloved book in… Read more