DLC and AWP20 in San Antonio

Disability literature is starting to come into its own.  Slowly, the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, has been including panels and readings by writers with disabilities. And that’s great because it is the largest gathering of writers in the country.  But what is still missing at that conference is a table or booth where people interested in work by writers with disabilities can go and look over some of the many new writings in one central location without having to go on a literary scavenger hunt.

Under the auspices of the Dis Lit Consortium, we would like to provide a booth at the 2020 AWP conference in San Antonio. This will give us a chance both to have a central location where conference goers can see some of the books that disability literature has to offer, but to introduce our own respective journals to a wider audience and encourage potential involvement.   We are asking your help in funding the booth, badges and other associated fees.  Any monies left will be used to purchase literature, printed materials, and ancillary items for use at the conference.

Why are we raising money? Getting to these AWP events is expensive: purchase of table and badges. Transportation. Lodging. Shipment of books. And of course, miscellaneous expenses.

We are reaching out to the disabled community and our allies, and anyone else interested in literature and all of its vagaries. Truths. Humors. Sorrows. Etc. For help. We – the Disability Literature Consortium – need your help so that we can be in San Antonio for AWP20.

AWP19 in Portland was our best showing yet it terms of sales and exposure. This needs to continue to happen. It is vital.

We are asking you to donate. And as you think about doing so remember that the DLC is, as of November 2018, a 501c3 organization so your contributions are tax deductible.

You can help us here:

DisLit Consortium Go Fund Me campaign

Thank you for your time, participation, and money.

DLC and AWP20 in San Antonio

New Books from Disabled Writers

It is definitely one of those nice problems to have that so many new books are coming out from disabled writers and/or about disability related topics that it is hard to keep up with them all.  Here are some of the books that are slated to come out in later in summer or in early fall of this year.  As might be expected, many of these are books of poetry.   Some of the poetry comes from veterans  like Kathi Wolfe and Kara Dorris known by those of you in the field. Others are the first collections by writers like Emily K. Michael and Ann E. Wallace whose work has found its way into journals but has yet to be collected.  It is a great opportunity to see what their work is about.  U.S. readers might want to take particular notice of the work of Canadian writer Roxanna Bennett whose work has made its mark in Canada but is new hear.   Of special importance is Med Day and Niki Herd’s  posthumous collection of  the work of poet and activist Laura Hershey, whose place is being recognized as part of the Unsung Masters series.

Kathy Wolfe, Love and Kumquats: New and Selected Poems (Brickhouse  Books)

Kara Dorris, Have Ruin, Will Travel (Finishing Line Press)

Ann E. Wallace, Counting  By Sevens (Main Street Rag Press)

Emily K. Michael , Neotony: Poems (Finishing Line Press)

Roxanna Bennett,  Unseen Garden (knife|fork|book)

Meg day and Niki Herd, Laura Hershey (Unsung Masters Series)

Upcoming non-fiction books to keep in mind include:

Therí Pickens, Mad Blackness::Black Madness  (Duke University Press) – Loosening the academic  language on a still scholarly work,  Pickens attempts to open a discussion between two fields that are not generally in conversation with each other.

Chris Gabbard, A Life Beyond Reason (Beacon Press) – Gabbard’s memoir describes the process whereby the birth of his son with profound physical and intellectual disabilities transformed him from a scholar to a disabilities advocate.

Two upcoming books of fiction are also worth your attention:

Brian Birnbaum, Emerald City (Dead Rabbits Press) – Birnbaum’s book is the first from a press with a special interest in promoting work relating to Deaf culture.  The protagonist of this novel  set in Seattle is a deaf man caught in the world of money, power and professional sports.

Kathryn Trueblood, Take Daily as Needed (University of New Mexico Press). Trueblood’s short stories of a woman dealing with the medical issues of both herself and her children amidst a myriad of other problems add up to a complete novel.

In addition to these books relating to directly to disability are two other books whose writers do not make disability the subject of their work.

Carol Jeffers, The Question of Empathy (köehlerbooks) – In a unique episodic narrative, Jeffers traces the history of human beings awareness of and capacity for empathy with others.

Maya Northen Augelli, Johanna’s Secret (Book Baby) – In an engaging tale of sleuthing, a young writer uncovers the pieces of a century old disappearance and, in the process,s discovers some things about herself.

These are by no means the only new books coming out in the field of disability literature, but they are a good place to start reading.  Incidentally, the links are to reviews of the books in the current issue of Wordgathering.  There is always a need for reviewers for journals such as Deaf Poets Society, Breath and Shadow, Kaleidoscope and Wordgathering.  If you are a writer yourself, you may want to consider it.












New Books from Disabled Writers


Autism blogger Amanda Baggs compares those of us who use language to dwellers on a high cliff which all other, such as those with autism, are expected to ascend.  Her point is that, though the cliffs and mountains are both interesting and worthwhile places in which to live, few of us cliff-dweller deign to into the valley.  Luckily, through the use of facilitated communication and technology, many of those with autism are learning to scale the cliffs to interpret their world for us in their own language.

Within the past few years several books have appeared  that provide a starting point for giving writers with autism a voice.  The following four might be a starting point for interested readers.

A Doorknob for an Eye (D. J. Savarse).  D. J. Savarese was the first autistic student to graduate from Oberlin College. In this small book of ekphrastic poems Savarese looks at artwork by autistic arts with an insight that only someone who experienced autism from the inside out could write.  The book is published by poet Chris Martin and Unlimited Editions, which promotes the work of autistic poets.

Hoshi and the Red City Circuit (Dora Raymaker).  Raymaker brings her own experiences as a writer with autism to bear in a cyperpunk mystery novel in which the narrator inhabits a world that  relies on the technical expertise and non-verbal communication skills of people with autism while at the same time relegating them to a position of quasi-citizens.  Her ability to convey the inner-workings of her narrators mind is a tour-de-force.

See it Feelingly  (Ralph Savarese). If the name is familiar, it is because Ralph Savarese is D.J.’s father and a long time educator, researcher and autism advocate, though not on the spectrum himself.  Savarese’s thesis in this book is that people with autism are capable of reading and engaging with classic American novels.  The core of the book consists of interviews with autistic readers including Raymaker, Tito Mukhopadhyay and Temple Grandin.

Autism in a Decentered World  (Alice Wexler).  Wexler is a neurotypical writer and much of the first part of the book is based on the theories of philosophers and neurobiologists, but she also tries to give equal time to autistic writers and artists and arguing for the notion of difference as one of parity and mutual respect between those on the cliffs and those in the valleys.

In contrast to these four writers whose work is not always available in main chain bookstores, Grandin and Mukhopadhyay have several books that are much easy to find. Raymaker’s book  will be available at the Disability Literature Consortium Booth at the AWP book fair in Portland, Oregon later this month.  She will also be taking part in the consortium’s off site reading on Thursday, March 28. (See Feb. 20 post for details).


Call for Canadian Writers With Disabilities

Compared with their American and British counterparts, Canadian writers with disabilities have had relatively little opportunity to see their work featured in publications focusing on the work of writers from their own country.   Canadian poet Shane Neilson (the author of Dysphoria) is trying to help remedy this by leading a special of Hamilton Letters and Arts Magazine that forefronts the literary work of disabled Canadian writers.  The issue will appear in Fall of 2019 but the deadline for submitting work for the issue is April 29.  The link to submission guidelines and more detailed information is: https://halmagazine.wordpress.com/submit/submit-to-hal-magazine/

It is a great opportunity for Canadian writers to get their work before the public.  If all goes well with this issue, it will provide on step towards being able to see the Canadian equivalent to anthologies like Beauty is a Verb or Stair and Whispers.

Call for Canadian Writers With Disabilities

DLC now a 501c3 Organization!

We are very pleased to announce that the Disability Literature Consortium (DLC) has received its new official status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization!

Our nonprofit status will help us sustain as a charitable organization so please, when we have one of our periodic AWP Fundraisers (attendance is expensive) consider donating.

Thank you for everything you do.

DLC now a 501c3 Organization!

Zoeglossia Retreat for Poets with Disabilities

Zoeglossia is announcing its call for fellows.

Zoeglossia is a literary organization that is seeking to pioneer an inclusive space for poets with disabilities. Much like its forbearers Canto Mundo, Kundiman, Cave Canem, Vona, and Lambda Literary, Zoeglossia strives to create an open and supportive community that fosters creativity for poets with disabilities.

During an annual, 3-day retreat, eight poets from all backgrounds will have the chance to workshop with established writers, and give and attend panel discussions and readings. Our yearly retreats aim to promote professional as well as artistic development.

Zoeglossia’s 3-day retreat will be held annually at the Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, Texas. Poets with all forms of disabilities, ages 21 and over, are eligible to apply. Fellows, once accepted, are invited to attend two additional retreats within a five-year period.
DEADLINE TO APPLY: December 15, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST
APPLICATION FEE: $10 on the website: http://www.zoeglossia.org/donation to Zoeglossia (HOW?)
Attendance costs: Each fellow will be responsible for their transportation to and from San Antonio. There will also be a $200 tuition fee which goes toward food and lodging. If necessary, financial assistance may be applied for once accepted to the program. The fees are still being determined and are subject to change.

Teaching Faculty: Cecil Giscomb, Jennifer Bartlett, Ellen McGrath Smith

Who’s eligible:
• Poets with disabilities who live within the United States
• PoetsApplicants must be 21 years old andor older
Submission Guidelines:
To submit, please make a $10 donation on the Zoeglossia website:
Please submit the following to zoeglossia@gmail.com. All applications must appear in
one Word document or PDF with the applicant’s last name (underscore) first name
(Smith_Sally) as the name of the file.

Please include:
• Ten pages of poems
• c.v. (no longer than 2 pages)
• The name and contact information of two references
• Two-page statement of purpose detailing your interest in poetry and the disability community

Zoeglossia Retreat for Poets with Disabilities

Disability Poetics Seminar

This Thursday, October 18, an important event in disability literature will be taking place at the University of Pennsylvania: The Disability Poetics Symposium. As befits a university symposium there will be scholarly round tables on the work of Larry Eigner, disability and performance, and disability and experimental poetics. These will include nationally known writers such as Michael Davidson, Jennifer Bartlett, Camisha Jones and Charles Bernstein. There will also be public poetry readings with a heavy nod toward Philadelphia based poets like Dan Simpson, Anne Kaier, Brian Teare and Ona Gritz. It should be a great opportunity for anyone interested in disability poetry to see what the movement is all about. A schedule with specific information can be found at https://newdisabilitypoetics.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/schedule/

Disability Poetics Seminar