A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature
As past readers of Wordgathering have discovered, each new issue takes on an unintended personality of its own. That tendency is unmistakably at play in the current issue with its orientation to the work of writers who are blind or experience vision in uncharacteristic ways. The interview section contains "Dialogue on Blindness and Writing." The Excerpts section previews the work of Kathi Wolfe’s The Uppity Blind Girl Poems. Michelle Gage lends musical expression to lack of sight in her newest composition, "The War Wherein. " Caitlin Hernandez demonstrates the contribution that lack of vision makes to alternative forms of description in her essay, "Portals. " Poetry from Tasha Chemel, Nancy Scott and Daniel Simpson all contribute to this conversation. Finally, the new Response feature collects the wor k of writers who give their on take on John Milton’s famous "Sonnet XVI", colloquially known as "On His Blindness. "
None of the above, however, means that readers of this issue are short changed in reading other viewpoints. Our poetry section is represented in the work of new writers Sue Chemmell, Firestone Feinberg, Jennifer Richardson, Warren Sandusky, Austin Wallace, and Chingmang Yuan as well as by returning poets Kate Bernadette Benadict, Linda Benninghoff, Mark Burnhope, Michelle Fernandez, and Paul Hostovsky.
The current issue includes four book reviews. Three consider new books of poetry from Jennifer Bartlett, Mark Burnhope and Linda Fuchs. The fourth is an engaging work on art and poetry in healthcare by Sue Ridge and John Davies. Fiction in this issue is represented by the short stories of Greg Gibson and Susan M. Silver, while Michael Uniake’s essay makes the case for re-examination of the history and recasting of Deaf history. An essay from Katie Murphy addresses college students with disabilities.
We are very happy to introduce readers to Pentimento, the newest addition to the small family of journals seeking the work of writers with disabilities through a talk with editors Lori Brozek and Marie Kane in our Interviews section. We are fortunate also to have for the first time the work of Cynthia Weitzel and Ann Bogle. Weitzel is a Deaf artist who is currently artist in residence at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts. Bogle, widely known as a talented writer of experimental fiction takes over this issue’s Reading Loop with a dizzying essay that traverses mental health, politics, fiction, sexual identity and John Berryman.
As mentioned above, Wordgathering is "testing the waters" with a new feature that might be called Reponses. One of the most important tasks of the journal, as the editors see it, is the re-examination of the work of writers of the past who had disabilities and the examination of representation of disability in literature. To that end, the editors invited writer who have written about their own experience with blindness or non-typical vision to respond to John Milton's "Sonnet XVI". The response was overwhelming and includes work from Tasha Chemel, Ana Garza G’z, Jill Khoury, Stephen Kuusisto, Ria Mead, Emily Michael, Andrew Sydlik and Kristen Witucki that are captured in an essay discussing the results by Irish poet Desmond Kenny.
Due to the success of this trial run, Wordgathering will continue this feature in the next issue with writer responses to Charles Dickens’ character Tiny Tim. Poet Ana Garza G’z will be heading up this feature for the December issue. To view the specifics of this call for work, click here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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