New Issues of Five Dis Lit Journals

Now that Spring is here, all of the journals that make up the Disability Literature Consortium have had the chance to put out their first issue. Each is unique in its own way, but all provide opportunities for writers with disabilities and readers interested in what is happening in disability literature. It’s an old saw but true that for writers interested in submitting their work, the best strategy is to take a look at what these journals are publishing. The journals are listed here in order of the length of time they have been in existence, led off by Kaleidoscope, the venerable pioneer that got it all started.

Kaleidoscope – Though the journal includes a wide variety of genres this issue is noteworthy for the amount of disability short fiction that it includes.

Breath and Shadow
– A nice mix of work, featuring many new writers. In this issue, the essay on disability fashion may be the most unique.

– Of particular note in this issue is the review of the movie Deej, and as always, this journal provides the largest variety of book reviews.

Rogue Agent – As usual, this issue is beautifully done, concentrating on art and poetry. It is also exceptional in providing links to important published poems in other journals.

The Deaf Poets Society – very strong in art and poetry, this issue is noteworthy for the publication of global writers.

New Issues of Five Dis Lit Journals

Ten Anthologies of Disability Literature

Among the good problems that the Disability Literature Consortium faced at the recent AWP bookfair was how to display the sheer variety of books that came to us from various authors. For readers interested but not familiar with field, it can be overwhelming.  One of the best solutions to get to know various writers and their work is an anthology.  Indeed, anthologies were among our best sellers at the Dis Lit table simply for that reason.

Below are ten anthologies, arranged in order of publication date, that not only give readers a solid introduction to disability literary work  but can provide a valuable reference for those who teacher.  The list below looks only at collections that feature the work of traditional literary genres such as poetry, fiction and drama.  It does not include those that focus on scholarly research or  that provide space for personal testimony about disability.   It is by no means exhaustive, but anyone with the following on their bookshelves will definitely be able to contribute to the discussion.

Beyond Victims and Villains: Contemporary Plays by Disabled Playwrights. (Theater Communications Group, 2006). Edited by Victoria Ann Lewis.
When it came out, Lewis’ anthology of plays written by disabled playwrights and featuring characters with disabilities was ground-breaking and it remains the best of its kind. It includes work by Susan Nussbaum, Lynn Manning and Mike Ervin among others.

Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology (Gallaudet University Press, 2009).  Edited by John Lee Clark.
Clark established, once and for all that Deaf poetry has a history.  Proceeding chronologically, he has sampled work by deaf writers from the early 1800’s up into the 21st century. Each poet is represented by a short biographical article and poetry.

Tilling the Hard Soil: Poetry Prose and Art by South African Writers with Disabilities. (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press, 2010).  Edited by Kobus Moolman.
Moolman’s anthology is not strictly literary in that many of the pieces are biographical, but it is one of the very few anthologies that gives an African  perspective on disability, which can depart considerably from those offered in other anthologies.

Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Edited by Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black and Michael Northen.
The first anthology of American poetry by disabled writers to really gather the top poets in the field.  While providing samples of some of the pioneers like Larry Eigner and Vassar Miller, it focuses on contemporary poetry. Each writers work is accompanied by an essay relating the poets art to disability.

Deaf Lit Extravaganza (Handtype Press, 2013) Edited by John Lee Clark.  In this anthology Clark and Handype Press display the wide variety of literary work being created by D/deaf writers.

Accessing the Future: A Disability Themed Speculative Fiction Anthology. ( Publishing, 2015). Edited by Kathryn Allan and Djibril Al-Ayad.
Speculative fiction (particularly sci-fi) is one of the most fertile areas for exploration disability fiction because of its social and philosophical implications. Allan, a scholar in this area, has gathered together stories that deal with some of the most explosive issues.

QDA: A Queer Disabled Anthology.  (Squares & Rebels Press) Edited by Raymond Luczak.
Lucak may be the USA’s most involved writer/editor/publisher for work at the intersection of Deaf and LGBTQ  literature.  He has gathered together many voices in the field.

The Right Way to Be Crippled and Naked: The Fiction of Disability.  (Cinco Puntos Press, 2017). Edited by Sheila Black, Michael Northen and Annabelle Hayes.
A kind of companion book to Beauty is a Verb, this is Black and Northen’s attempt to ferret out the best disability short fiction that has been written and make it accessible to readers by putting it in one place.

Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back. (Nine Arches Press, 2017).  Edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman. 
This anthology does for disability poetry of the UK what Beauty is a Verb did for American disability poetry.  Coming six years later, however, it is more generally more experimental and much more in touch with the need for multiple modes of access.

Shaping the Fractured Self: Poetry of Chronic Illness and Pain. (UWA Press, 2017).  Edited by Heather Taylor Johnson.
Notwithstanding its title, this anthology published  by the University of Western Australia his heavily oriented to the work of Australian writers with disabilities. It pays tribute to Beauty is a Verb as well, and like that book, includes important essays by the writers like Andy Jackson and Anne M. Carson that complement their poetry.




Ten Anthologies of Disability Literature

Presses The Publish Work by Disabled Writers

As those who recently visited the Disability Literature Consortium both at AWP know, there are a variety of journals that are actively looking for the shorter work of writers with disabilities, but what many disabled writes may not know is that there are also a growing number of small presses where they can submit completed book manuscripts for publication.

Handtype Press – Publisher Raymond Luczak founded this press to promote the writer of Deaf and hearing impaired authors.  It publishes a small, select number of books this year and has published work such as John Lee Clark’s Deaf Lit Extravaganza and Kristen Ringman’s Makara.

Reclamation Press – Reclamation Press is a relatively new press that publishers approximate four books per year.  Publisher Corbett O’Toole says, “We look for disabled writers who have rich and complex stories to tell in both fiction and nonfiction.”

Unrestricted Interest – Unrestricted Interest is part of Chris Martin’s project to foster and publish the work of poets with autism.  The most recent publication is DJ Savarese’s book A Doorknob for an Eye

Finishing Line Press – Though not officially strictly a press for disabled writers, Finishing Line may be the single largest publisher of literary work by writers with disabilities. This is due principally to the work of editor Leah Maines, herself a writer with a disability, who seeks out the work of disabled women poets. This has included work by Ona Gritz, Kathi Wolfe and Liz Whiteacre.

Nine Arches Press – Nine Arches Press may be the go to press for UK writers. Publisher Jane Commane has long supported the work of poets like Markie Burnhope and recently produced Stairs and Whispers, an anthology of poetry by Deaf/disabled authors.

Squares & Rebels – This is another press that is the work of Raymond Luczak, but is dedicated to the work of LGBTQ writers, particularly as they intersect with disability.  Recent publications include Luczak’s own anthology DQA and Kelly Davio’s  It’s Just

Cinco Puntos Press – Though not a disability press per se, Lee and Bobby Byrds press has back two important anthologies Beauty is a Verb and The Right Way to Be Crippled and Naked, and recently published a novel by disability fiction pioneer Anne Finger.



Presses The Publish Work by Disabled Writers

Coming to Tampa

For the third year, the Disability Literature Consortium will be bringing books to the annual AWP (Associated Writers and Writing Programs) Conference.  This year it is in Tampa.  The Dis Lit Consortium is made up of journals who are dedicated to the publication of the work of writers with disabilities.  The includes Kaleidoscope, Breath and Shadow, Wordgathering, Deaf Poetry Society and Rogue Agent.

We have a double role at AWP.  The most obvious one is to make the published books of as many disabled writers as possible available for purchase by those who attend the conference.  By centralizing this work we make it a lot easier for those attending the conference to find a book that may be looking for and it is also a way of introducing potential readers to work in the same field of interest that they may not have known about.

We are also there to tell authors about the journals that we publish and to encourage them to submit work to the journals that may give them the best chance for publication.  This year we are also letting readers know about Zoeglossia, which is will be sponsoring its first two conferences for writers with disabilities.

Stop by and visit us.  We are at table T240.

Coming to Tampa