Volume 15, Issue 4 – Winter 2021

Winter 2021 (Volume 15, Issue 4) is the 60th issue of Wordgathering. Does this number make the journal “a senior” or perhaps define our Open Access, digital publication space as being among #CripLit “elders”? (You get to decide.)

“Speaking” of elders, “Old Man Winter” just arrived in this hemisphere. Admittedly, I prefer to think of this season–for many of us, a time of biting, at-times very dangerous cold, accompanied by ice and snow, as well as transformation, hibernation, and reflection–as Old Genderqueer Winter.

As Editor-in-Chief, I am grateful for ongoing and outstanding collaborative support from my esteemed colleagues at Syracuse University—Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, Kyle Jaymes Davis, and Patrick Williams.

Michael Northen and I provided book reviews for Issue 60. This issue’s Gatherer’s Blog is a conversation between Gatherer’s Blog Editor, Ona Gritz, and yours truly–about Ona’s new essays collection, Present Imperfect, her writing life, and a host of other themes. Wordgathering author Edward N. White’s Reading Loop is a candid reflection on disablement, aging, healthcare, and facing mortality–with fierce directness and a sense of humor. As always, Reading Loop and Gatherer’s Blog are invited contributions, and I thank Ona and Ed for their excellent work.

Ivan de Monbrison’s bilingual poems, “Untitled 1” and “Untitled 2,” were audio recorded in Russian by poet Victoria Gryaznova and in English by me. Hannah Emerson’s poem, “The Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Dreaming Beast,” was audio recorded by Chris Martin. The poems “For Watson,” “Four Months Gone,” “Never the Same,” “Raking Leaves,” and “What Would Help” by Donna Dunlop; “The Naked Willows (Amidst the Silent October Morning)” by Carlos Mijares Poyer; and “Not Just Yet” and “Rendered Unto God” by Roy Walhberg 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.

When Michael Northen and I co-edited the December 2019 issue of Wordgathering two years ago, I could never have imagined that the eight issues that would be published since that time (the entirety of my tenure, to-date, as Editor-in-Chief) would all have “gone live” in the midst of a devastating global health crisis, for which life in its most serious terms has been undermined, halted, or ended for so many Disabled QTBIPOC people and members of other marginalized communities.

As winter arrives in this hemisphere, Covid-19’s Omicron and Delta variants are distressingly omnipresent and ever-increasing, along with what is now widely described as “pandemic fatigue.” Ableism and its many intersecting oppressions contribute mightily to pandemic fatigue. I hope that the artwork, book reviews, prose, poetry, interviews, and all other elements of the Winter 2021 issue of Wordgathering provide you with an accessible space of and for creativity, respite, and holism, while acknowledging and honoring grief, rage, health disparities, present-day eugenics (and eugenics’ past), and an ongoing commitment to advancing Disability Justice.

Over the past two years, Wordgathering has continued to receive contributions from and published a broad variety of work by artists and writers from around the globe. This issue continues brightly in the spirit of this welcome and necessary trajectory. In the five exemplary works that comprise the second of our three-part, special feature, “Disability Futures in the Arts,” you will find powerful and provocative, international engagements with Disability arts and cultures, accompanied by an introductory essay by the works’ curator, our Special Guest Editor, Prof. Kenny Fries. Working with Kenny and our entire editorial and administrative Dream Team remains one of the great honors and joys of my life. The ongoing communication with our contributors and would-be contributors likewise remains a privilege.

I encourage you to read the Syracuse University Libraries’ Fall 2021 Connection feature on the collaboration between the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach and the Syracuse University Libraries. This newsletter article discusses the vibrant partnership that makes Wordgathering possible.

I confess that Twitter at times proves stressful for me and the “particularities” of my Neuroqueer processing approaches. However, Wordgathering‘s Twitter presence and participation also continue to expand our anti-ableist local and international “reach” as well as our communication opportunities, altogether. As a direct consequence of our presence on Twitter, Wordgathering will have a “virtual table” at the 2022 SMOL Fair. As noted on the SMOL site, “SMOL Fair is an alternative, virtual book fair that will be ‘live’ from March 19-26, 2022. It is 100% free for presses to participate. In addition to deals and give-aways, we are hosting a reading and a mixer online. We are also coordinating an events calendar featuring readings from participating presses.” As the outgrowth of a very positive Twitter interaction, Mick Theebs of Flock Reader featured an interview with me about Wordgathering, Open Access publishing, and other themes.

This issue marks the launching of yet another space of engagement and media expansiveness; thanks to “Batman Woman” Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri’s initiative, bold while humble spirit, and creative acumen, Wordgathering now has a YouTube channel. We are pleased and proud to feature an ASL interpreted video of Meg Day’s exemplary essay, “Unfit to Print: Refusing the Page in Deaf Poetics,” one of the five works in this season’s “Disability Futures in the Arts” feature.

Rest in power and peace, bell hooks, and all others whom we have lost this year.

Wishing you a meaningful, engaging, and healthy winter season–and beyond.

—Diane R. Wiener, Editor-in-Chief

Underlined content throughout Wordgathering is hyperlinked (each underlined element is a clickable link), leading to further aspects of the content shared. Any questions about accessibility can be addressed by emailing us at: wordgathering@syr.edu.

Please note that the opinions and perspectives shared by our contributors (in their published work or elsewhere) do not necessarily align with or reflect the opinions and perspectives held by the members of the journal’s editorial and administrative team.