Literary Nonfiction. Memoir. Women's Studies. BLACKFISHING THE IUD is a daring and demanding memoir by author, Caren Beilin, about reproductive health and the IUD, gendered illness, medical gaslighting, and activism in the chronic illness community. Rhapsodic and unabashedly polemical, Beilin scrutinizes the literary, artistic, and medical history of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as she considers the copper IUD's role in triggering her sudden onset of chronic autoimmunity. As the title makes abundantly clear, the book is an argument that the copper IUD is sickening quite a lot of women--and that we listen first and foremost to women's testimony to begin to resolve it.
"BLACKFISHING THE IUD is a necessary and searing polemic. Deftly shifting between literary history and emerging scientific research, Caren Beilin defiantly insists on the truth of her own experience--and demands that medicine take the anecdotal reports of women like her seriously."--Maya Dusenbery
As I read I thought of alchemy, Beilin is an alchemist. She transmutes metal, in this case copper, into something that flames and sings and questions and fights. It's a supranatural work that quests after healing but also finds and makes sense in its paradoxes."--Johanna Hedva
"'Love does leave you open, ' Caren Beilin proves in this heart-breaking, book-breaking work. Beilin opens her memoir of illness to the voices of others harmed by the IUD, a medical device that makes the writer's daily living and thinking into a story of autoimmune disease. Beilin and others who know the risks of being heard and treated as women include us in their generous acts of rage, empathy, gratitude, and information. Reading and writing are witchwork, transforming the isolation of suffering into a tender and common ground. This book reminds us that our bodies are sites of language we can trust and love and offer in forms more radical than we know."--Hilary Plum
"In BLACKFISHING THE IUD, Caren Beilin takes on a crucial topic heretofore only broached in online forums--the serious, ongoing health problems associated with the copper IUD--and explodes her investigation into a creative work like no other: rich with wide-ranging references but also retaining the urgency and intimacy of raw, personal forum posts. Dissatisfied with the non-answers offered by medicine, Beilin seeks to understand the harm done by the IUD through philosophy, literature, and daily life. By writing the IUD through literature, philosophy, bookselling, and birdwatching, she identifies it as a problem that reaches far beyond 'women's health' into society at large."--Amy Berkowitz
About the Author
Caren Beilin grew up in Germantown, Philadelphia. Her fiction can be found in McSweeney's, Fence, and in the DIAGRAM/ New Michigan Press chapbook, Americans, Guests, or Us. THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, in its various forms, has been the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship, a finalist in Fence's Modern Prose Prize, and winner of Noemi Press's Book Award for Fiction.