A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Volume 8     Issue 2     June 2014


From its inception, Wordgathering has dedicated itself to the publication of disability-related literature, particularly poetry. Following Simi Linton's mantra, "nothing about us without us," this has also meant that work has been predominantly by writers who have disabilities themselves. In the current issue, the balance has changed a bit, however. The impetus for this slight detour is the publication of Anna Evan's anthology Forgetting Home, reviewed in this issue. Evan's collection brings together the voices of poets who are caregivers of parents or other family members with Alzheimer's or dementia. The Wordgathering editors invited a number of the poets whose work was contained in that volume to submit their work to this journal. As a result, the June issue of Wordgathering introduces its readers to a number of poets who do not have disabilities themselves, but have close relationships with others that do. These poets include Kate Bernadette Benedict, Maryann Corbett, Kristina England, Wendy Howe, Amy Jomantas, Siham Karami, Erin Kelly, and Angela Adaimo O'Donnell.

Also new to Wordgathering is the work of poets William Alton, Ekiwah Adler Belendez, and Jythosnapanija, each of whom have several poems in this issue. Returning poets include Linda Benninghoff, Kara Dorris, Ana Garza G'z, Jill Khoury, Raymond Luczak and Kim Roberts. The editors are glad to announce that in this issue, every poem in print is also accompanied by an audio version. Many of the poets read their own work, but for those who do not, the poems are read by Jill Khoury — not only a poet but an excellent reader.

As readers may have already noticed, there is a heavy poetry presence in this issue and that extends to our interviews. What the two interviewees, Kathi Wolfe and Ana Garza G’z, have in common, is that both are blind, but as the detailed interviews reveal, they are very different poets. Complementing these interviews and giving a third perspective is Emily Michael's essay, "Answering Blindness: A Poet Makes Amends."

In addition to Michael's piece, six other essays provide non-fiction offerings . The essayists are John Lee Clark, Philip Dowd, Mike Ervin, Jessica Penner, Barbara Perez and Cynthia Hogue, a poet whose work-in-progress is represented in our Excerpts section. Fiction in this issue comes from Timothy Allen, Petra Kuppers, Emily Lund and Claire Forrest, whose story “The Business of Being in Love” from the March issue is concluded.

Wordgathering's book reviews are varied. In addition to Evans' anthology, Meg Eden's book of poetry, Kristen Witucki's young adult novel, Michael Uniacke's historical novella, Catherine Edmunds' contemporary novel, and Ona Gritz's personal memoir are reviewed. Uniacke's novella about the attempts of oralists to discredit sign language pairs nicely with the work of this issue's feature artist, Nancy Rourke, whose paintings represent the visual expression of Deaf history and culture. Editor Michael Northen's Reading Loop rounds out this issue's emphasis on poetry, giving a nod to poets whose work may not make it into the big league.

Wordgathering editors always appreciate the support they receive from others who help this journal get out to its readers, but they deserve special mention this time around because without it, issue 30 would not have appeared at all. Thanks to Jill Khoury for providing the recordings of many of the poems, to Sean Mahoney for his invaluable help editing, to Eliot Spindel for all of the behind the scenes work as the journal webmaster and to an outstanding foursome of book reviewers: Rebecca Foust, Therése Halscheid, Anne Kaier, and J. F. Powers, all accomplished authors in their own right.

Wordgathering readers can follow us on Twitter at @wordgathering.com, where they will also be able to see the tweets of some of the other writers who appear in this journal. We also maintain a presence on Facebook. 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. The journal appreciates hearing from authors whose books are consistant with the mission of Wordgathering and would like them reviewed. 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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This site is maintained by Michael Northen and Eliot Spindel.