Monday, August 14, 2017

The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems

Molly McCully Brown’s first book of poems, “The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded,” is part history lesson, part séance, part ode to dread. It arrives as if clutching a spray of dead flowers. It is beautiful and devastating. 

The title refers to an actual place. The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded was a government-run residential hospital in Amherst County, Va. It opened in 1910.
Its doctors were eugenicists. From the mid-1920s through the mid-1950s, thousands of patients, seen as defectives and moral nonentities, were sterilized without their consent. For many if not most of its residents, it was a house of horrors.
NYtimes article.