A Journal of Disability Poetry

Volume 4     Issue 1     March 2010


This issue of Wordgathering is dedicated to poet, playwright, and essayist Paul Kahn, who died on New Year's Day. Kahn was a complex man and would have appreciated the many different voices and opinions that make up this issue. To represent Kahn, in addition to the last part of his essay “The Deepening Fog” that was scheduled to appear in this issue, we are also reprinting two of his poem, a short excerpt from his play The Making of Free Verse, and an editorial piece by Michael Northen.

Kahn had a deep interest in the forms that beauty can take, especially in relationship to disability and so would probably also have been pleased that included along with his work in this issue is the poetry of five writers who will be taking part in a panel called “Beauty is a Verb” at this years Associated Writers Programs conference in Denver, Colorado next month. The writers, lead by Sheila Black are, Jennifer Bartlett, Ann Bogle, Barbara Crooker, Ellen McGrath Smith and Michael Northen.

In addition to the five writers who will be discussing disability and poetry at the AWP conference, we present four new to the journal: Mark Langer, Steven McLachlan, Venetia Ghozlan, and Aaron Weir Kelstone, along with two younger poets, May Hansen and Arbin Tabao. They are joined by the return of poets Eric Gadzinski, Marie Kane, Robert Riche and Nichole Taylor.

Paul Kahn's final essay is complimented by three other essays by Jennifer Bartlett, Laurie Clements Lambeth and Michael Northen. Clicking on the "Essays" will provide more details about these. Under "Art" readers will also find Stuart Sanderson's discussion of the encounter of a poet with cerebral palsy with computer art.

In the March issue we are glad to be able to continue to offer reviews of books that may interest our readers and they may not see in other more mainstream publications. There are two books of poetry, Paul Hostovsky's Bending the Notes and Sienna Elizabeth Raimonde's A Place Called Return. There is also a memoir from Raymond Luczak's Assembly Required of which an excerpt is provided. An interview with Luczak gives readers a more in depth look at Luczak's work in poetry. Finally, we review Voyage to Centauri

Each April for the past eight years has provided the kickoff for the Inglis House Poetry Contest. This annual contest has two categories, one on a disability-related subject that is open to all writers and another open only to writers with disabilities whose poems may be on any subject. Neither requires an entrance fee. The "Contest Submission Guidelines" link provides details. Aword of caution, however. The contest judges look for poetry that, in addition to being well-written, counter stereotypes of disability. Poetry that pities, labels itself "inspirational" or ends with "we shall overcome" has little chance and is best saved for other venues. We have provided a link to the 2009 contest winners. It is not a bad idea to check these out.

Wordgathering is a journal that seeks to develop the field of disability literature by publishing and promoting the work of poets with disabilities or work that counteracts stereotypes about disability. We invite essays that discuss poetry from a disability perspective or that contribute to the theoretical development of the field of disability literature. We value our readers' opinions and hope you will send your comments to us at comments@wordgathering.com. Let us know which writers you enjoy. We also wanted to remind you that readers can now follow occasional Wordgathering news on Twitter. Look for us at http://twitter.com/wordgathering .

The Editors

This site is maintained by Michael Northen.