A Journal of Disability Poetry

Volume 2     Issue 4     December 2008


It hard for us at Wordgathering to believe that two years have passed since this journal made its first appearance. In our initial issue we stated, “In launching this journal, we hope to provide an opportunity for those whose talent in writing poetry converges with an interest in the growing field of disabilities literature.” Throughout the eight issues that we have published, we have tried to be guided by this statement. We feel encouraged to be able say that we have published over 100 poets. Many of these poets have returned not only with new poems but to write essays and participate in interviews. We are especially proud that in addition to the poems published, our book reviews, literary essays and interviews with writers have helped to enlarge the field of disability poetry. We have also made some more modest attempts at offering book excerpts, photography and fiction that contribute to disability literature as well.

After our September issue we received a request for a list of women poets that we have published. This seemed a good idea, but we thought an even better one would be to be able to provide a list of all of the writers that we have published, along with the titles of their pieces. As a result, readers will find an “Author’s Index” that will allow them to peruse all of those who have had their work published in Wordgathering to date. The index gives the issue in which the works appeared as well so that anyone can easily click on Past Issues to access the work of the writers that interest them.

This issue offers a wide variety of poetry. We have asked three of the poets whose books we reviewed in the September issue, Rebecca Foust, Ellen LaFleche and Laurie Clements Lambeth, to allow us to include a few of the poems from those books in this issue. Other returning poets include Richard Boughton, Lisa Cihlar, Aurora Lewis, Neil Marcus, Sienna Elizabeth Raimonde, and Mary Tisera. Readers will also get a chance to read a number of poets new to Wordgathering: Jeanette Beal, Jade Gibson, Stephanie Green, Donna Kiser, Judith Krum, John Mannone, and Gary Winters.

Only one book is reviewed this time, but it is a large one, Tom Lomardo’s (ed.), After Shocks, an anthology about recovery from catastrophic events. We are also featuring an excerpt from Gary Presley’s recently released autobiography Seven Wheelchairs, which will be reviewed in March 2009. Our interview in this issue is with Gail Willmott, editor in chief of Kaleidoscope, perhaps the most venerable disability literature and arts magazine.

As always, we are offering a variety essays. Sheila Black reflects on the teaching a college’s first course in disability literature course, Tracy Koretsky takes a look at children’s books depicting developmental disabilities, Ellen Williams discusses her experiences with Parkinson’s disease and Michael Northen takes a retrospective look at disability poetry. Our final offering is a look at digital photography by Ilene Myers.

The editors would like to recommend two other sites that readers of Wordgathering may also want to check out. One is Hyperlexia Journal, which will debut in 2009 and is now taking submissions. According to edited by Brittney Corrigan, Hyperlexia Journal seeks “honest, thoughtful, well-written poetry and prose about being autistic, and loving someone with autism.” The other is an in depth article by Seth Forrest on the poetry of Larry Eigner. Titled, “The Body of the Text: Cerebral Palsy, Projective Verse and Prosthetics in Larry Eigner’s Poetry, it is one of the few works available on the writer who may be the most critically acclaimed of all disability poets. Readers who enjoy haiku, tea, or Philadelphia, may enjoy visiting poet Alexis Siemons’ site where they’ll see how she has managed to incorporate all three.

Looking ahead to our third year, Wordgathering continues to seek out and accept quality disability poetry for future issues. We are also accepting a limited number of literary essays and poetry books for review. Writers interesting in submitting work to Wordgathering should look at our submissions guidelines.

As always, we welcome your comments about Wordgathering and the work that you see featured here. Your input helps us to know how effective we have been and which writers you would like to hear from again. Wordgathering is a quarterly publication. If you are interested in being notified when the next issue comes out or would like to send us your comments, please write to us at comments@wordgathering.com.

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