CONTENT WARNING: MENTAL HEALTH TRAUMA & EXPERIENCE; SEXUAL VIOLENCE & HARASSMENT
EDITED BY KAY ULANDAY BARRETT
The experience of Disabled people and/or people who live with chronic pain is vast, extensive, and incredibly nuanced. Even the umbrella terms used to describe the variances in our community are limiting. It is within this complexity that we aim to seek work that exists in, contemplates, and re-imagines the ableist systems that limit our bodies, minds, and spirits. Oftentimes, the onus is on the Sick person, the chronically aching, the Disabled person to navigate this world (including the literary and artistic world) in isolation. Moreover, many of the poetics and writing in the mainstream literary world accentuate select and rigid perspectives. This folio hopes to hone a central place for writing galvanized by those who embody the technique and experiences of Queer, Transgender, Non-Binary, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Working class, Poor, Femme, and Womxn communities. Hybrid on hybrid, cross-genre, some works here could be unclassifiable. In this way, we blur the distinctions of where pleasure, survival, pain, elation, grief, and humor even begin. If you’re wondering what brought you to these works, my thoughts are simply, this is hella needed and sometimes we have to read the real raw as we live it.
Here, we hope to examine works that illustrate us within and outside of the tropes of the Disabled Body frequently called upon for inspiration without our work or self-determination at the center. Every contributor in this folio (all twenty-six!) offers an exploration of the body-mind, the crucial coalescence of how we, as full beings, engage with and are impacted by our brilliance, our madness, our movements. This is not an easy read. This collection is non-linear. A reader will learn that to move through this folio one might need breaks, one might need to celebrate. You might feel seriously exhausted and exhilarated—we know there is room for both/and.
Here are the raspy swollen poems. Expect survival ascendance laced with contradictions in short fiction. Dance with a sick-bed-life essay. Many are anxious observations & PTSD-charged. In the initial call for submissions, our team requested: Bring whatever you, in your capacity and spoons, care to write. We recognize that writing on disability and ability publicly can wrongfully impact communities seeking supplementary assistance, therefore anonymous and pen-named submissions are honored and welcomed. This was indisputably accomplished. We recognize that writing on disability and ability are not mutually exclusive of other trappings of oppression. Let this folio be one capillary where Disabled and Sick people take the charge, spoon out, and seek solace. It is my hope that this collection of writing encourages works that acknowledge, investigate, and respond with a liberatory focus. By that I mean: The absolute chronicle of our breath is justice-worthy. Thank you to the sharpest editorial team, Kayla and Axel, for believing in this project and generously bending time with me. Thank you to every writer here who trusted us with their words.
—Kay Ulanday Barrett
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Kay Ulanday Barrett aka @brownroundboi is a poet, performer, and cultural strategist, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer. They are a fellow of VONA, The Home School, Lambda Literary Review, and Drunken Boat retreats. They are 2018 Guest Faculty for The Poetry Foundation, 2018 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry at Lambda Literary Review, and Co-curator at Asian American Writers workshop. K. has been featured on the stages of The Lincoln Center, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Chicago Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, The NY Poetry Festival, The Dodge Poetry Foundation, Tucson Poetry Festival, The Guild Complex, The Hemispheric Institute, and National Queer Arts Festival. They have been featured in Vogue, PBS News Hour Poetry, Asian American Literary Review, VIDA, RaceForward, The Deaf Poets Society, NYLON, Apogee, Entropy, among others. Kaybarrett.net
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