A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Volume 11     Issue 1     March 2017


In February, Wordgathering took part in the Association of Writers and Writers Programs Conference (AWP) held in Washington, DC. The editors were excited to be able to take part in this writers conference, the largest in the United States, representing writers with disabilities. This was done through participation in panel discussions, readings, the D/deaf and Disabled Writers Caucus, and, most directly for the readers of this journal, in the booth of the Disabilities Literature Consortium. The consortium gave conference participants the chance to see dozens of books by writers with disabilities, all together in one place.

As an extension of the work done by the consortium, the March 2017 issue of Wordgathering has given considerable space to the review of disability-related books in our Book Reviews section. These include a look at three new anthologies that anyone interested in disability literature should want to own: Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow, The Right Way to Be Crippled and Naked : The Fiction of Disability and Barriers and Belongings: Personal Narratives of Disabiliy. Also reviewed in this issue are new poems from Constance Merritt, Gillian Mears novel Foal's Bread, and unique memoirs from two talented writers, Lisa Gill and Elisabeth Tova Bailey. To these reviews, the editors have added two book previews through our Excerpts section: a chapter from Kristen Witucki's latest novel and poems from Jessica Goody's Defense Mechanisms.

Each issue of Wordgathering tries to present work from poets who have not appeared in the journal before and this time around those new voices include Fani Athanasiadou, B. W. Beardsley, Abigail Chorley, Michael Meyerhofer , Cinthia Ritchie, and Elizabeth Weaver. Returning poets include Greg Bell, Yvette Green, and René Harrison. The December 2016 issue of the journal featured a tribute to poet and playwright David Simpson that included both Simpson's own work and poems dedicated to him by other writers. Since the publication of that piece, two other writers –Scott Edward Anderson and Elizabeth Rivers– have added their voices. Their work contributions are found in our poetry section as well.

At the end of this month, those who are interested in disability studies will have the chance to attend "Disability Studies: A History, "a free conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania that takes a look at how disability studies has developed in colleges and universities. The Interviews section of this issue includes a discussion with Clare Mullaney, one of the architects of this conference, providing details about what prospective attendees can expect. A second interview in this section gives readers a chance to become more acquainted with the work of poet, fiction writer and anthologist Christopher Jon Heuer.

Essays in this issue are few in number but diverse. Grace Lapointe takes a look at the representation of disability in David Foster Wallace's best known novel Infinite Jest, Matt Ramsey explains a procedure that he has developed for introducing learning disabled students to the writing of poetry, Sean Mahoney takes on the sometimes humorous but serious task of conveying what living with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is like, and Ariana Aboulafia describes the difficulties that she experienced in receiving an accurate diagnosis of a potentially terminal condition. In the Music section, readers will find an additional personal essay where Amy Robinson narrates her experiences as a one-handed fiddler.

Writers interested in keeping current on disability literature can join us on Facebook and on Twitter at @wordgathering.com. The activities of the Disability Literature Consortium can be followed on their blog or contacted at dislit666@gmail.com.

Wordgathering continues to seek work that develops the field of disability literature. We invite the submission of poetry, short fiction, drama, art and essays that discuss poetry from a disability perspective or that contribute to the theoretical development of the field of disability literature. The journal appreciates hearing from authors whose books are consonant with the mission of Wordgathering and would like them reviewed. Our guidelines provide further information about the kind of work we seek. We value our readers' opinions and hope you will send your comments, concerns or ideas to us at comments@wordgathering.com.

The Editors

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