December 2020 (Volume 14, Issue 4) is the 56th issue of Wordgathering. As Editor-in-Chief, I remain deeply grateful for ongoing and outstanding collaborative support from my esteemed colleagues at Syracuse University—Kate Deibel, Patrick Williams, and Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri. This issue marks one year since Wordgathering transitioned to its new home at Syracuse University,
Immense gratitude goes to our stellar editorial team: Flash Memoir Editor, Dan Simpson; Gatherer’s Blog Editor, Ona Gritz; Prose Editor, Sean J. Mahoney; Poetry Editor, Emily K. Michael; and Special Guest Editor, Kenny Fries.
“Monsters Among Us” by Jesse Pulikottil Francis; “The Secret” and “Two Rissoles on a Plate” by Mark Niedzwiedz; “Everyday Athlete,” “Exacerbation,” and “Transubstantiation” by Robert Shuman; “Tryin’ on Shoes” by Laura Sweeney; and “Death of an Unseen Angel” and “Lion Tamer” by Roy Wahlberg were audio recorded by me. Other poems were audio recorded by the poets, themselves. “The Crip Couture Manifesto” by Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi—part of the inaugural “Disability Futures in the Arts” series—was recorded by me. All other work in this issue from the “Disability Futures in the Arts” series was recorded by the authors.
Wordgathering‘s Founding Emeritus Editors are Stuart Sanderson, Dana Hirsch, Yvette Green, and Denise March.
In the September 2020 issue, we announced the beginning of a vibrant collaboration with scholar-activist, professor, poet, author, and friend, Prof. Kenny Fries. As Wordgathering’s Special Guest Editor (2020-2023), Prof. Fries will bring to the global Wordgathering audience a vibrant, new project on the disability arts and culture, sponsored by a prestigious grant awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. As a component of this three-year, multi-project grant, Prof. Fries will curate and edit “Disability Futures in the Arts,” a series of 15 essays by disabled artists to be published in Wordgathering, in three sections (five essays, each) and sequences (during December 2020, 2021-22, and 2022-23). Read more about this groundbreaking initiative with Prof. Fries, in the Syracuse University News story.
The first (glorious!) five of these 15 essays from the “Disability Futures in the Arts” series appear in our current issue of Wordgathering, accompanied by an introductory essay by Prof. Fries. These five essays are intellectually and emotionally groundbreaking, robust, and engaging. Readers are likely to be affected by the brilliant variety of authorial styles as well as by the work’s individual and collective excellence. The first five essays are by (in the order in which their work appears): Sandie Yi, Travis Chi Wing Lau, Sandra Alland, Jerron Herman, and Noa Winter. Each essay is coupled with an audio recording of the piece, as noted above. When visual content is part of the work, textual descriptions are provided.
As noted in our September 2020 issue, during the fall of 2020, the YMCA of Central New York’s Downtown Writers Center, in collaboration with the Burton Blatt Institute’s Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach and Nine Mile Literary Magazine, hosted “Numberless Dreams,” an exciting, new, online creative writing program for youth with disabilities, led by professional writers who are themselves disabled (including Wordgathering editorial team members, Ona Gritz and Daniel Simpson!). Learn more about this unique (and free!) program. Following the successful inaugural session during the fall of 2020, winter and spring 2021 sessions have been planned. The winter 2021 session registration deadline is January 16, 2021. Wordgathering will be publishing a selection of participants’ work in future issues.
As also noted in our September 2020 issue, December 2020 marks our first issue including Flash Memoir as a genre in our publication wheelhouse. Special thanks to our Flash Memoir Editor, Dan Simpson, for helping to bring this creative work into the world. In the December 2020 issue, we are delighted to publish the Flash Memoir, “Stargazer,” by Maya Larson, a participant in the fall 2020 “Numberless Dreams” workshop. Also in our first-ever Flash Memoir section are three compelling selections from Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri’s “Micro Mutant Memoir Postcards” series.
In 2021, Wordgathering will shift to a seasonal issue structure on a quarterly basis. Rather than titling our issues March, June, September, and December—as has largely been the practice since the journal’s inception—we will name the issues to reflect the seasons, beginning with Winter 2021 (Volume 15, Number 1–our 57th issue).
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May the changing of the seasons and the transition to a new year bring you imaginative connections with words and images, however you experience and access them. Wishing you well, as this challenging year comes to a close.
—Diane R. Wiener, Editor-in-Chief