A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature

Volume 13     Issue 3     September 2019


This is a special issue for Wordgathering and for me. In December, Syracuse University will take over the publication of the journal under the editorship of Diane Wiener. I have been honored to publish Wordgathering over the past 50 issues and almost 13 years. I'm proud of what we have accomplished and feel fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful writers. The journal has reached a point, though, where if it is to continue to grow, it needs the support of the sort community and resources that Syracuse University, with its long dedication to disabilities studies and disabled people, can provide. I will be working with Diane on the December issue to help make the transition.

For those of you who read and submit work to the journal, nothing will change immediately. You will be able to submit your work in the same way, through the same addresses that you always have, and we will continue to respond. When the journal shifts to its new web space, you will automatically be re-directed when using the current URL. To let readers know more about the transition and introduce some of the new team members, we have included an interview with me, Diane and the rest of the transition team by our old friend Jim Ferris in this issue's Interview section.

To celebrate this transition, Wordgathering has asked some of the poets who have been with us and helped us to grow over this past fifteen years to submit some of their work for a special section. I'm sure you will agree that it reads like a who's who of disability poetry: Sheila Black, John Lee Clark, Barbara Crooker, Ona Gritz, Marie Kane, Desmond Kenny, Jill Khoury, Stephen Kuusisto, Raymond Luczak, Emily K. Michael, Daniel Simpson, Jillian Weise, Liz Whiteacre and Kathi Wolfe. Several poets, Jennifer Bartlett, Anne Kaier and Kobus Moolman, elected to send prose and their work can be found in the appropriate section.

The remainder of issue 51 continues with the same features that Wordgathering readers have come to know. In addition to the poets above, the Poetry section contains the work of new poets Roxanna Bennett, Emily Cole, Kate Gough, Carrie Hooper, Lori Lamothe, Stephen Lightbown and Jon Riccio. There is also work from returning poets Kathryn Allan, Tom C. Hunley, Tricia Knoll and Brian Koukol.

In addition to the interview with the Wordgathering transition team, this issue contains two more interviews: poet Tricia Knoll and memoirist Chris Gabbard who discusses his recent book. In a fourth interview in our Art section, poetry editor Emily K. Michael talks with sculptor Tim Lawrence about his work in sculpture.

The Book Review section in this issue may be the largest yet. This includes four important anthologies: Laura Hershey (Meg Day and Niki Herd, eds.), About Us (Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, eds.), We are not your metaphor (Zoeglossia Fellows) and Alongside We Travel (Sean Thomas Dougherty, ed.) Poetry books from Roxanna Bennett, Ann E. Wallace and Kathi Wolfe are reviewed. There are also novels by Brian Birnbaum and Kathryn Trueblood, a memoir by Chris Gabbard, and a work in disability studies from Therí Pickens – Black Madness::Black Madness. The Review page will give readers more information about these books.

Essays in this issue come from Shahd Alshammari, Amirah al Wassif, Hunter Deiglemeier, Anne Kaier, Jonathan Mack and Fiona Morrison. Kobus Moolman and Adrian Spratt contributed fiction.

As readers who follow the journal know, Wordgathering has several special features. The "Gatherer's Blog" gives writers a chance to reflect upon aspects of their own writing. This time the blogger is Rachel Bunting with "Identity Theft." Our Response feature allows writers to respond to other writers. Here poet Jane Joriz-Nakagawa responds to an interview with Gaia Thomas from our December 2018 issue.

Finally, I am thrilled that the guest editor for the Reading Loop is Sheila Black. Sheila served as poetry editor for the journal for several years and was my co-editor with Jennifer Bartlett for Beauty is a Verb. Sheila is also one of the founders of Zoeglossia and an architect of the oranizations's first ever conference for disabled poets in May 2019. In this Reading Loop, Sheila introduces us to the work of the talented poets who attended that conference: Jennifer Bartlett, Stephanie Heit, Stephen Lightbown, Raymond Luczak, Naomi Oritz, Margaret Ricketts, Ellen McGrath Smith, Jessica Suzanne Stokes, Zoe Stoller, Elizabeth Theriot, Gaia Thomas, Viktoria Valenzuela and Connie Voisine.

Before closing this final Wordgathering "Welcome" I want to offer my sincere thanks to the people who volunteered their time and hard work to make it happen: poetry editors Emily K. Michael and Anne Kaier, prose editor and jack-of-all-trades Sean Mahoney, "Gatherer's Blog" editor Ona Gritz, and audio poetry recorder, Melissa Cotter. Throughout the past twelve years the work of former assistant editors Sheila Black, Jill Khoury, Silvia Bowersox, the late Linda Cronin, and my webmaster Eliot Spindel have been invaluable. I want to dedicate this issue to Stuart Sanderson, poet, colleague and friend who help to found Wordgathering. Stu, who came up with the journal's name, passed away this summer.

Readers can continue to keep in touch by emailing us at comments@wordgathering.com, checking our posts on Facebook or following us Facebook and on Twitter @wordgathering. We are always interested in what you have to say. Wordgathering continues to be a key player in the Disability Literature Consortium, which brings the published books of disables writers to the AWP book fair annually to make them available to the public. The consortium relies on your support to be able to continue this work. Tax deductible contribution can be made through its Go Fund Me page.

Michael Northen

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