A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Volume 12     Issue 2     June 2018


One of the joys of publishing Wordgathering is the surprise at each publication of what the final issue actually looks like. Rather like the casting of straws for the I Ching, the basic structure and materials for each issue are the same, but the picture that finally emerges may be quite different. Though the diversity of writing in June 2018 issue continues to reflect the wide range of writing and writers in disability literature, autism-related writing has taken a very prominent role.

The review of All the Weight of Our Dreams edited by Lydia X. Z.Brown, E. Ashkenazy, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu gives readers a peak at a unique anthology, one composed entirely of the work of autistic writers of color. Complimenting the anthology is Eselina Barnett's essay, "Being a Black Mother to An Aspiring Hip Hop Artist with Autism." Our excerpts section features two scenes from Anna Tatelman's play Life on the Moon centering on the relationship of a young military marksman and his autistic younger sister.

As always, Wordgathering features a wide variety of poetry and in this issue we're excited to welcome back the work of former Wordgathering poetry editor Sheila Black. Other "old friends" in the poetry section include Paul Hostovsky, Michael Northen, Jennifer Richardson, and Ann E. Wallace. Poets appearing in the journal for the first time are Natalie Illum, Jake Ford, Cade Leebron, Tatiana Naborowski, Angie C. Orlando, and Diane Wiener.

In addition to All the Weight of Our Dreams, this issue reviews six other new books: two literary anthologies (Emily Dorffer, and Ona Gritz and Dan Simpson), short fiction (Kobus Moolman), essays (Laura Esther Wolfson), a memoir (Stephen Kuusisto) and Disabled Upon Arrival – Jay Timothy Dolmage's in critical examination of immigration, eugenics and disability. The opportunity to read the first chapter of Heather Hood's novel Spirit to Spirit comes in our excerpts section.

Fiction in this issue comes from AJ Cunder, Anita Frey and Paul Hostovsky. In the essays section John Lee Clark looks back at the work of DeafBlind poet Alfred Castner King, while Rachel Kallem Whitman critiques the representation of the birth of disabled children in the media. In addition to Elisena Barnett's essay about her son, personal essays on disability come from Bill Abbott, Shadh Alshammari and Caitlin Prince. Interviews are with Suzanne Bair of Accessible Family Travel, Avra Wing and Aaron Zimmerman of NY Writers Coalition, and poet Erin M. Kelly. Readers can find out a bit more about each story, essay, and interview by clicking on the respective sections.

Reading through work of the above writers, readers may be struck by the fact that a number of the pieces have been previously published. One of the goals of Wordgathering, in addition to providing space for new writing and new writers is to make available relevant work that has been previously published but that most readers will not have seen. That's true of the June "Gatherer's Blog." Not a conventional blog, it is an interview with poet Dan Simpson about writing that appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

Our Reading Loop for this issue is in the hands of New Zealand writer, René Harrison. Because of the wealth of material that Harrison has to present, it has been divided into two parts. In this issue, Harrison explores "Poetry and the Visual Blind," which includes a look at some of the prose of James Holman and Helen Keller, as well as his Harrison's own poetry. The second part of the Reading Loop will appear in the September issue and focus on disability literature in New Zealand.

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 editors appreciate 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. Wordgathering invites readers to follow us Facebook and on Twitter @wordgathering.

The Editors

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