A Journal of Disability Poetry

Volume 5     Issue 4     December 2011


With this issue of Wordgathering, our journal marks the completion of its first five years publishing disability-related poetry. We are grateful to have been able to publish some very talented and experienced writers that readers may not have had the opportunity to read while at the same time giving some beginning poets their first success in publication. At the same time, we have also worked hard to develop and expand disability literature, not only through disability poetry but through essays, book reviews, interviews, fiction, drama and the visual arts. Perhaps our greatest symbol of our success came recently in the fall of 2011 with Cinco Puntos' publication of Beauty is A Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, an anthology that includes a number of writers whose work was previously published in Wordgathering: Jim Ferris, Petra Kuppers, Daniel Simpson, Laura Hershey, Kathi Wolfe, John Lee Clark, Laurie Clements Lambeth, Ona Gritz, Sheila Black, Raymond Luczak, Anne Kaier, Ellen McGrath Smith and Jennifer Bartlett. The anthology has been on the Poetry Foundations best selling anthologies list for over a month now and has been adopted as a text for several college literature courses. The editors are very proud of having had a part to play in helping to get the work of these terrific writers into the eye of a greater public.

As this fifth year of publication closes, we continue to keep our main focus on disability poetry. Poets whose work is appearing in Wordgathering for the first time are Susan Buchanan, Lisa Gill, Desmond Kenny, Stephen Kuusisto, Denise Leto, Carla Schwartz, Hal Sirowitz and Peter Street. Readers familiar with contemporary poetry may recognize some of these names. We also have work of returning poets Linda Benninghoff, Jimmy Burns, Ann Eustace, Elaine Jones and Laura Merleau.

While disability-related poetry is beginning to become more prevalent, disability fiction is still in its infancy and often very difficult to find. To help rectify this,two of the three interviews in this issue are with novelists whose books have, as their central characters, people with disabilities. The writers are Rachel Simon and Christine Stark. In the third interview, Carol Marfisi, discusses teaching disability studies courses at Temple University.

The growth in disability literature is such that this issue of Wordgathering is able to offer reviews of five books. One of these, discusses a novel by Jillian Weise, who is usually as a poet. The other four books reviewed are all works which, in the spirit of disability literature, almost defy classification. The writers are Kara Dorris, Getchen E. Henderson, Neil Marcus, and the collaborative team of Amber DiPietra and Denise Leto. Clicking on the Book Reviews tab, will give you a fuller preview of these works.

Poetry, interviews and book reviews are rounded out with five essays. Three of these, the pieces by Saundra Adams, Jimmy Burns and Peter Street, are short personal essays. A fourth essay by Maya Northen explores the various ways that writers can make use of social media. Finally, Janet Lawson, the founder of Autistry Studios, describes the work of her studio in a photo essay that can be found in our art section.

Wordgathering continues to seek work that develops the field of disability literature. We invite the submission of poetry, short fiction, and essays that discuss poetry from a disability perspective or that contribute to the theoretical development of the field of disability literature. Submission guidelines are provided at the guidelines link on this page. We value our readers' opinions and hope you will send your comments to us at comments@wordgathering.com. Wordgathering can be found on Twitter, where you can receive updates related to the field of disability literature. We can also be seen on Facebook. Thank you for your support over our first five years.

The Editors

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