“I Am Reading, I Am Read” published in Wordgathering!

The March issue of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature features my essay, “I Am Reading, I Am Read.” This piece is part of the Gatherer’s Blog — a special column where disabled writers talk about the writing life. In my essay, I explore the challenges of learning to read my poetry in public, challenges I learned to manage with the help of dedicated and resourceful loved ones. Here’s how the piece begins:

Every table in the cafe is occupied. Wooden chairs scrape and squeak against the bare floor. Surly employees set down plates of sweet potato fries, Cuban sandwiches, fresh croissants. The espresso machine hums and whirs from the hidden kitchen, and we celebrate its rare functionality with gusto.

I wait against the window as my host arranges the microphone and speakers. The speakers are boxy, incongruous among the blond wood of tables and chairs. I take up my position before the large unshaded window. My guide dog, a black Labrador, lies peaceably at my feet. He enjoys his patch of sun-warmed floor, where the smells of countless breakfasts have been fossilized. He is calm, his leash secured under my foot.

I cherish the small relief that I am not holding the leash; I know it will transfer my anxiety to him. I face the customers, tune my ears to the genial clinks of forks and plates. My dog sighs and his collar jingles. My friend Abigail secures a lapel mic to my collar, asks me to test the sound.

Everything is ready. I have been introduced. I open my big black binder and raise the poems to eye level.

Read the full essay here. Explore the rest of the March issue here.

In the Works

 

It’s time for an overdue update! Happy December to all!

I’ve had a busy semester of writing, teaching, reading, and workshopping. Here are some of the highlights!

Presentations

In October, I spoke at an event for Blindness Awareness Day hosted by UNF Leaders and Activists for the Disabled (LAD). Though the talk ended up being an hour, we recorded the first 20 minutes, and you can watch them here:

In November, I spoke about breaking disability stereotypes at another UNF event. This time it was the 3rd annual Community Learning Opportunity, hosted by UNF THRIVE, an organization that serves students with autism.

Later in November, I gave my second presentation as part of  UNF Sigma Tau Delta’s Brown Bag Series. My talk was called Poetry, Passion, and Grammar. We explored some of my favorite poems and charted their unconventional use of intuitive grammar features.

Publications

My poems “Mint” and “Natural Compliance” appeared in the latest issue of Clemson University’s South Carolina Review, available only in print. These poems are especially important to me because they each honor a loved one who is no longer living. “Mint” was written for my great-grandmother, and “Natural Compliance” was written for my friend, Christina.

The December issue of Wordgathering features two of my pieces – a mini essay and a book review. The mini essay is called “Life of a Disabled Person as Rendered in Video Game Language“; it’s a satirical look at the social obstacles disabled people face.

The second piece is a full-length review of Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems by Ona Gritz and Dan Simpson. Border Songs is a brief beautiful chapbook that explores themes of myth, identity, love, faith, and acceptance.

Workshops

I have recently discovered the phenomenal Poetry Barn – an organization that offers physical and online poetry workshops! In November, I took Jill Khoury’s workshop Writing Poems from the Body, a month-long course on exploring how our bodies shape our work. It was an intensely creative and productive time for me, so I immediately signed up for their December workshop, Foremothers: Imitating Women Poets, taught by Joshua Davis. Class just started this week, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

In the Works

I am, as always, writing writing writing. I am revising a piece on sacred singing and blindness for an academic disability journal. I’m planning an essay-length review of Rachel Carson’s extraordinary Under the Sea-Wind. And I’m prepping my Intro to Creative Writing course for spring!

Poem Published!

My poem, “Crushed,” is live in the June issue of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature.

Click here to read it—or listen to me read it for you!