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Disability and Poetry

poetryDisability and Poetry is the topic of discussion in the Poetry December 2014 feature “Exchange.” Writers Jennifer Bartlett, John Lee Clark, Jim Ferris, and Jillian Weise share views on writing disability, publishing, accessibility, and form and embodiment. There are some startlingly hard-hitting statments, such as Bartlett’s “I have resisted the term ‘identity poet’ when considering my own work; therefore, my biggest challenge is to address my cerebral palsy without poetics and other identities taking a ‘back seat’ in the process.” And later, “I think publishing in poetry is inherently biased; it always will be.”

Or how about Ferris’s “Disability is dangerous. We represent danger to the normate world, and rightly so. Disabled people live closer to the edge. We are more vulnerable, or perhaps it is that we show our human vulnerability without being able to hide it in the ways that nondisabled people can hide and deny the vulnerability that is an essential part of being human.”

The exchange is hard core honest (editors and publishers should be reading this), as well as enlightening for all (including literary event planners). The Exchange is available full-text online here.

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