Writing *to* disabled people has all sorts of implications, not just topic and diction but orientation, the things you don’t explain but just let float out there. When I consciously undertook writing poems with a crip audience in mind, I let go of the myth of universality.
–Jim Ferris, Poetry Magazine, 2014
[Update on Anthology from February 2017 here. Includes a change to our editorial committee, funding announcements, a title, and a launch date!]
Background Notes [from 2015] (click here for Submissions Guidelines):
Nine Arches Press has commissioned Sandra Alland, Markie Burnhope and Daniel Sluman [update: Khairani Barokka has replaced Markie Burnhope] to co-edit an anthology of UK Disability Poetry / Crip Poetics, which we think will be the first of its kind in the UK. We expect to be able to publish sometime in 2016.
In 2011, U.S.-based poetry editors Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black and Mike Northen collaborated to bring you Beauty Is A Verb, the very first anthology to draw together and showcase The New Poetry of Disability, or Crip Poetics, being developed largely in the United States. Beauty Is A Verb traced a history of Crip Poetics in America from Larry Eigner to a present crop of poets with disabilities working in the fledgling but ever-expanding field.
Our cultural, political and social context in the UK is different to that from which Beauty Is A Verb emerged. As well as reflecting on the work of Mike Northen and co, and the many reputable poets who featured in that anthology, the editors plan to draw together our backgrounds and influences in poetry; political and social activism; and academia around disability, feminism, sexuality and gender fluidity/variation – with a consciously intersectional framework.
We plan to draw on the context of anti-Atos / Welfare Reform and NHS privatisation activism, whose leading lights (particularly on online social networks) have been women, including trans women, queer women and/or women of colour – a clear antithesis to the systemic norm. In both poetry and prose we plan to explore, creatively and critically, other bodily identities and oppressions that intersect with disability to create what poet and activist Eli Clare called “marked bodies.” Racialised bodies, gender non-conforming bodies, bodies “marked” by class or religion.
As editors we are committed to the social model of disability (with contributions from other radical socio-political models), which means we are casting a wide net in our call for poets who self-identify as disabled, people with disabilities, crip, D/deaf, or any variation thereof, and who may consider their impairments and/or their disabled or D/deaf identity a key part of their thematic, conceptual and aesthetic practice.
What We Want
We want to represent the poetry of visible and invisible long-term and life-altering physical disability or mobility impairments, deafness, blindness and visual impairment, learning difficulties, cognitive impairments, chronic and terminal illness (ME/CFS/EDS/Fibromyalgia/MS/cancer etc.), stammers and stutters, mental health and neurodiversity – and any other non-normative bodily alignments which have a place under the banner of “disabled” according to the social model. We also aim to include D/deaf writers/performers who do not identify as disabled.
We especially welcome work from writers who also identify as people of colour, minority ethnic, indigenous, racialised, migrant, queer, bisexual, lesbian, gay, asexual, genderqueer, gender variant, gender non-binary, trans, intersex, women, agender, working class, working poor and/or any related identities.
We want poetry that pushes boundaries. We’re interested in a large range of styles. For some exemplary disability writing visit wordgathering.
Some of Sandra Alland’s work:
Text & Recordings (Archive of the Now)
“Able” (poetry video with subtitles)
“Something Like a Leviathan”
“Shove Ten Pounds of Sugar in a Seven-Pound Bag”
What We DON’T Want
We’re not looking for ‘inspiration porn’, work whose primary purpose is therapeutic, and definitely not work which perpetuates ableist tropes or rhetoric in any way.
Click here for Submissions Guidelines
We can’t wait to read you!
Sandra Alland, Markie Burnhope & Daniel Sluman
Sandra Alland is a writer, performer, filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in Scotland. She co-won the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award for Naturally Speaking (espresso: Toronto), an examination of gender and disability poetics. Her current projects include The Queer & Trans* Deaf & Disabled Video Project, Cachín Cachán Cachunga! & SEEP, and They They Theys. Sandra has fibromyalgia, hypermobility and scoliosis, and also identifies as working poor and genderqueer. www.blissfultimes.ca
Markie Burnhope is a poet, editor and disability activist. Marcie co-edited Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, and Fit to Work: Poets Against Atos. Their published poetry includes the pamphlets The Snowboy (Salt Publishing, 2011) and Lever Arch (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2013), and their debut full-length collection, Species (Nine Arches Press, 2014). Marcie was born with Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus, and self-identifies as disabled, neurodivergent, and non-binary trans.
Daniel Sluman is a young poet based in Gloucestershire. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as Cadaverine, Popshot, Shit Creek Review, & Orbis. His debut full-length collection, Absence has a weight of its own, was published in 2012 through Nine Arches Press, who will also be publishing his second collection, The Terrible, in 2015. Daniel is a through-hip amputee from childhood bone cancer and a resulting chronic back condition.