Volume 15, Issue 2 – Summer 2021

Summer 2021 (Volume 15, Issue 2) is the 58th 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.

Shahd Alshammari, Sheila Black, Karen Christie, Michael Northen, and yours truly reviewed books for this issue. This issue’s Gatherer’s Blog was written by Daniel Simpson; the Reading Loop was written by Stephen David Ross.

The poems “Dancing Hands: A Declaration of Autistic Love” and “The Fox” by Aliza Bridge, “To a Snowflake” and “My Clock Collection” by Nancy Scott, and “The Shape of Prison Time,”Forever Feral,” and “Stop Asking” by Roy Wahlberg were audio recorded by me. Other poems were audio recorded by the poets, themselves.

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.

The demarcation called summer in the hemisphere within or from (?) which I’m typing these words to you is, for some, a time of hope, rejuvenation, and reclamation. The longest night of the year just passed; the robins have left their resourceful nests fashioned in the shaded brush. While malacology is surely not among everyone’s CripLit motivators, I have had the joy and privilege this season of meeting many small orange slugs, as they slurp mossy woods and brick-face outside my northeastern home—yes, located on occupied indigenous land in what some folx call the United States.

As vaccinations to prevent COVID-19 have become increasingly available this season, it is likewise important to underscore that not everyone has equal access to the vaccinations, locally or globally. Moreover, for many Disabled folx, the vaccinations may be unsafe or otherwise compromising—even irrelevant or impossible. The idea that this pandemic is “over” is untrue and wholly unhelpful as an assertion, when considering the continuously disproportional number of Queer and Trans BIPOC Disabled folx—especially those living in poverty—for whom COVID-19 remains a serious threat.

The juxtapositions between these simultaneous truths arise in various ways within the works included in our vibrant and bold Summer 2021 issue. Across our published genres, intersectionality, oppression, inaccessibility, and outsiderness co-exist with themes of awe, adoration, whimsy, and beauty—among many others.

As Wordgathering continues to publish and promote Disability writing and other art forms from around the world, it is important to reflect upon life’s deeply variegated and often inequitable realities for D/deaf, D/disabled, Crip, Mad, Chronically Ill, Sick, and Neurodivergent (including Autistic) writers and creative artists who hail from many different backgrounds and hold myriad identities.

Black Lives Matter. Black Disabled Lives Matter. AAPI Lives Matter. AAPI Disabled Lives Matter.

This June marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City.

In the realm of celebration, Wordgathering’s team is proud, delighted, and honored to center CripLit as we host “our very own” Ona Gritz (Gatherer’s Blog Editor), who will read from her forthcoming book, Present Imperfect: Essays (Poets Wear Prada), on June 25, 2021, from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern time. Ona will also engage with Zoom participants during this webinar/reading. The event is free and open to the public, and will include live captioning, American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, and image descriptions. Please register here. Thanks to the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at the Burton Blatt Institute, and to Poets & Writers. In association with Poets & Writers, this event was made possible in part by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Ona Gritz’s books include Geode, a Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award finalist. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Ploughshares, Bellevue Literary Review, River Teeth, Brevity, and elsewhere. Recent honors include two Notable Mentions in Best American Essays and a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project. Questions about this event can be directed to oipo@syr.edu. The event is being recorded; once available, an accessible video will be posted on our website.

As mentioned in our Spring 2021 issue and prior, we invite you to share your thoughts, reflections, feedback, and other commentary. Again, this invitation holds true not only with respect to our Reading Loop—a section of the journal that was initiated, in part, to engage with responses and to encourage and support responsiveness. Responses provide writers and artists with the opportunity to address one another, reflecting on prior Wordgathering publications, and thereby broadening our cultural engagement and conversation. Please send your responses to wordgathering@syr.edu. We will contact you, of course, if we wish to publish your response(s). Thank you!

Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again—in the spirit of the Summer Solstice, and beyond.

—Diane R. Wiener, Editor-in-Chief

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