A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Volume 11     Issue 4     December 2017


With this issue of Wordgathering, the journal completes eleven years of publication. Like most journals, Wordgathering has gone through many changes. In fact, after the first decade of publication, only two staff members remained from the original team, editor Michael Northen and webmaster Eliot Spindel. That number was cut in half when just after our last issue appeared, Eliot died. Eliot was the person who made sure from the first issue on that every issue of Wordgathering got up on line. He was the person who made certain that the journal was as accessible as possible. He had a great deal of experience in accessibility since Eliot was quadriplegic and did all of his work through voice activation. While he never wrote a single poem himself, his contribution to disability poetry was incalculable. This issue is dedicated to him.

Poetry in this issue comes from new poets Janelle Eckardt, Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, Sari Krosinsky, Gregory Luce, Becca Mennon and Christine Stewart-Nuñez as well as returning poets René Harrison, Nancy Scott and Anne Wallace. In addition, a special feature of this issue is William Ruleman's translation from German of four poems that depict blind men.

Those who write poetry will should be particularly interested in this issue's interview section. There are interviews with three editors who look for poetry from writers with disabilities: Jane Commane (Nine Arches Press), Leah Maines (Finishing Line Press) and Chris Martin (Unrestricted Editions). In addition, there is an exciting interview about ASL poetry by two experienced ASL translators, Paul Hostovsky and Karyn Lie-Nielsen.

Poetry is also the main subject of the December issue book reviews – seven of them, in fact. New books of poetry by Barbara Crooker, Avery M. Guess, Marie Kane, Shane Nielsen, DJ Savarese, Christine Stewart-Nuñez and the team of Ona Gritz and Dan Simpson are reviewed. Rounding out this group is a look at an exciting publication from Shout Mouth Press, The Day Tajon Got Shot, a collaborative novel by teenage authors from Beacon House in Washington, DC. Excerpts from memoirs by Anne Chiapetta and Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey give readers a taste of some of the new disability prose writing in the works.

Essays in this issue vary widely. Contributors are Megan Burgess, Kenny Fries, Grace Lapointe, Emily Michael and Jennifer Richardson. We are also pleased to present the full length version of South African writer Liesl Jobson's "Get Lost in Joburg: Ten Ways" which was excerpted in our last issue. Complementing the essays are three short stories. They come from Kara Dorris, Jonathan Mack and Joan Sobczak.

In the journal's September issue we introduced a new feature to Wordgathering, "The Gatherer's Blog," edited by Ona Gritz. As our first guest blogger we are privileged to have the work of Stephen Kuusisto, arguably disability literature's most popular blogger, with a piece called "On Writing, Blogging and Waking Early."

Finally, our Reading Loop for this issue asks some of the writers that Wordgathering has published in the past to comment on a writer with a disability whose work has had a significant impact on them. The essay that binds these thoughts together is called "Let Us Now Praise Disabled Writers."

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 disability literature. The journal appreciates hearing from authors whose books quaify as disability literature 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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This site is maintained by Michael Northen and Eliot Spindel.