As a professional woman, I often receive praise for overcoming my disability: “I admire how you don’t let blindness get in your way.” “You are where you are because you overcame your vision loss.” “You show that with hard work, anyone can overcome a disability.” “You’re an inspiration because you don’t let blindness stop you … More To Overcome or to Flourish? There Is No Question.
Each semester I share with students a list of the books and articles that I have used to develop the methods and concepts for my courses. Some may see this as pretentious — me handing them a long list and saying “Look how much I’ve read!” I don’t have a problem with that: scholars and … More Bibliography as Invitation
In November, I participated in the Brown Bag Series hosted by UNF’s Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society). I had the opportunity to read my work and discuss the challenges and joys of writing as a blind poet. Here’s what it’s about: As a blind poet, Emily K. Michael understands the politics of disclosure. Publishing … More Watch my presentation: “Creative Activism: The Poetry of Disability and Disclosure”
About a month ago, I gave a talk as part of TEDxFSCJ: Engage. The process involved a lot of work—rehearsals, revisions, workshops—but it was an incredible experience. I was blessed with the TEDxFSCJ crew to guide me, including a test audience and awesome speech coach! Here’s how the video is described on YouTube: Today one … More Watch my TEDx Talk, “The confluence of disability and imagination”
Literary scholars, mark your calendars for SAMLA 88! The South Atlantic Modern Language Association’s annual conference is coming to Jacksonville in November—with the theme of Utopia/Dystopia: Whose Paradise Is It? And guess what? They accepted my workshop proposal! Michele and I will be presenting a fabulous workshop you won’t want to miss! Don’t believe me? … More Appearing at SAMLA 88!
At the beginning of my classes, I ask students to define rhetoric. I teach one of two classes—Rhetoric & Writing and Rhetoric & Narrative. And even students who have taken one of these can’t voice a handy definition for the term in the title of their class. They’re not alone. This is not an exercise … More Exceptional Fallacies
My latest essay, “Stylish Negotiations,” was published in the March issue of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. This essay decodes the submission guidelines of several disability-related journals and magazines and offers a course of action for handling stories of disability. It begins as follows: “Submission guidelines rarely make me angry. Perhaps because … More Essay: “Stylish Negotiations”
So many disability resources and testimonials talk about regaining dignity. With the help of a new product, service, or skill, a disabled person can reclaim their independence and sense of self. I do not dispute this at all. But if this “reclaiming reclaiming dignity” message is the go-to strategy in disability services, perhaps we … More Reverse-engineering rhetoric: Some informal thoughts
Good evening, [Moderator], My name is [Modwyn], and I’m teaching a business writing course at [my university]. My students are beginning a unit on appropriate language use, and I’m directing them to the OWL’s excellent entry on this topic. While reviewing the entry on stereotyped and biased language, I couldn’t help but notice the omission … More My letter to the Purdue OWL coordinator
This article appeared in the National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA) Summer 2014 newsletter under the section, The Tutor’s Voice. * * * The lobby of our campus tutoring center resembles a doctor’s office. Students occupy moderately comfortable chairs, waiting to hear their names from the friendly voice from the writing room. A writing tutor … More Exploring a Writing Tutor’s Magic
This semester, I am living out one of my long-cherished dreams: teaching a series of intensive grammar workshops for multilingual learners and struggling student writers. On Friday afternoons, my colleague and I face a group of students who willingly admit their bad relationship with grammar. So far, we’ve had four sessions, teaching anywhere from 2 … More Total Revision: Conversations in the Red
This semester, I teach my three courses in two different classrooms, located on a back hallway crowded with benches, recycling recepticles, and lounging students. I enter the building, veer left, and travel down a long, wide hallway—dodging drinkers bending over the water fountain and near-invisible columns guarding arbitrary places. Just where the hallway begins to … More An Unlikely Pair
When I introduce or identify myself as a disabled woman, I often encounter surprised reactions. People frankly reply, “I don’t think of you as disable”—and why would they? For most nondisabled people (that’s “able-bodied” people in outdated lingo), the word “disability” summons a troupe of negative conditions. Suffering, impairments, trips to the doctor, the inability … More Why Identify?
If you are asked to dredge up the principles of grammar you learned in middle school, you might give voice to the following claims: An independent clause can stand alone A dependent clause can’t stand alone. A sentence fragment is an incomplete thought. When I hear these claims from grammar unenthusiasts, I notice two things. … More The Sensuous Semicolon—and Other Romantic Punctuation
As a writing instructor with low vision, I spend my life trading between a large white stick and a small white stick. The large one, of course, is the cane that helps me navigate my work environment. I open my classroom door, cane in hand, and proceed to my desk. At the desk, I fold … More I Only Have Eyes for…Grammar: Creating a Multi-Sensory Method for Teaching Writing