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Front Cover by Panteha Abareshi
8 mm stills from video/performance work
HIPPA Violation 2019
Courtesy of the artist

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Volume 63, Issue 4

WHEN AUDRE LORDE was faced with the possibility of a new tumor in her liver in November 1986, she went to Barnes & Noble for more information. “In those hours in the stacks of Barnes & Noble, I felt myself shifting into another gear,” she writes in A Burst of Light. “My resolve strengthened as my panic lessened.” There were few first person accounts of living with cancer available to her, a fact that spurred her to publish The Cancer Journals in 1980. Any knowledge about her condition was mediated by doctors and scientists. These tomes were filled with medical fact—notorious for its coldness and lack of regard for the patient as an individual, as a human being in need of empathy during a frightening time.

In publishing The Cancer Journals and A Burst of Light, Lorde created a space for the patient to speak up, talk back, and represent themself to an audience of people who may or may not understand the situation at hand. The Cancer Journals would be followed by books from other poets who critically considered illness, such as Essex Hemphill’s Ceremonies and Constance Merritt’s Protocol for Touch. More recently, OwnVoices work like Keah Brown’s The Pretty One, Kay Ulanday Barrett’s When the Chant Comes, and Alice Wong’s Year of the Tiger would crystallize the arrival of a more defiant brand of sick and disabled literature.

These books form part of the foundation of intersectional disability literature, the tradition that the works in this issue celebrate. We are elated to present writing by disabled authors that pushes back against dominant depictions of disabled people as helpless, minor, or merely as patients and nothing more.

The rise of OwnVoices literature in the United States is mirrored not only in other Anglophone countries, but is a movement spanning languages and nations. This issue is a reminder that disabled writers have always been present everywhere and have produced writing of great merit. Salma Harland’s translation of Abu āl-`Alā´ al-Ma`arrī, a 9th-century blind poet born in present-day Syria, is one such example you will encounter in this issue. The international scope of this issue is a reminder that D/deaf and disabled writers inhabit all aspects of the literary arts, including as translators. We are, after all, the largest minority in the world.

The work in this issue reclaims the narrative of illness and disability from medical experts and scientists. It centers the wisdom and expertise of those living painful lives, sick lives, disabled lives, neurodivergent lives. It insists that such lives are worth living, are beautiful, are deserving of documentation. It brings our universes into being and our bodies into focus.

We are lucky to live in a time where first-person and artistically rendered accounts of living with illness and disability are available to us. Yet the idea that disability and illness are private experiences to endure silently persists from Lorde’s time (“Cancer survivors are expected to be silent out of misguided concern for others’ feelings of guilt or despair . . . we are invisible to each other, and we begin to be invisible to ourselves”) to our own. This is why having a D/deaf and Disabled Special Issue of Massachusetts Review is so vital.

We chose pieces that together form a hope for disability justice in the world. We are proud to present an issue that shows the depth and breadth of literary and artistic work from our communities.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson and Khairani Barokka
for the editors


Entries

Table of Contents

Introduction

I Blacklisted Two Old Friends, a poem by Zuo You, translated by Yi Zhe

Untitled (from Ghostdaughter), a poem by Zefyr Lisowski

13 Considerations of the Holy Bug, an essay by Claude Olson

from Poem Bitten By a Man, poetry by Brian Teare

Red, a poem by Vivian Li

The Sound of Red in Green, an essay by Lynn Buckle

Street Scream, a poem by Djenebou Bathily, translated by Stephanie Papa
View a video performance of this poem

Red and from The Pebble, poems by Levent Beskardes, translated by Stephanie Papa
View a video performance of Red and from The Pebble

You Are Always Entering Your Future, an essay by Bhavna Mehta

We Want Your Art but We Will Not Pay, hybrid work by Ally Zlatar

When your friend dies like Jesus on her 33rd birthday and I want to kill the medical industrial complex for you, poems by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Fall 1994 and Then again, all things ((being equal)), poems by Saleem Hue Penny

\D E A T {H :: O R S E} \\\, a poem by Rosebud Ben-Oni

Also Reality, an essay by Michelle Renee Hoppe

After Ghosthood Came the Echo, an essay by Ife Olatona

Art, by Panteha Abareshi

how do we protect the mutant from annihilation by the “normal,” a poem by Andy Jackson and Gaele Sobott

That’s Still Short Term. I Care About Long Term. and 21 Grams, poems by Adrienne Marie Barrios and Leigh Chadwick

Third-Person Bio, an essay by Christine Barkley

If Only I Could Refrain from Eating and You Think You Are a Man of Religion, poems by Abu āl-`Alā´ al-Ma`arrī, translated by Salma Harland

On Behalf of the Hospital in Response to Your Grievance, a poem by Camisha Jones

Patient, Heal Thyself, an essay by Jodie Noel Vinson

Rondelet for the Terminally Ill, a poem by Maureen Seaton

Elegy for a Mask Mandate, a poem by Ellen Samuels

Nocturne with hysterectomy, a poem by Kay Ulanday Barrett

diagnosing, hybrid work from Olivia Muenz

The Lake, a story by Kang Hwagil, translated by Clare Richards

Loam, a poem by Shiki Itsuma, translated by John Newton Webb

Dorsality and Reencountered, Months Later, poems by Travis Chi Wing Lau

thirty-three degrees, a poem by Daniel Sluman

kesar doodh1 is my love-language <3, a poem by Pinka PopsicKle

Barely a Difference and Evening Summer Rain, poems by Ekiwah Adler-Belendez, translated by the author

Uninvited Guest, a story by Kieran Mundy

denominator-mandate and Eye Trick #2, poems by Joselia Rebekah Hughes

Snake Dance, a story by Wakaya Wells

Bluff, a poem by Zuo You, translated by Yi Zhe

Notes on Contributors

Volume Index

Contributors

PANTEHA ABARESHI is a Canadian-born American multidisciplinary artist and curator. They are based in Los Angeles, California and were raised in Tucson. Abareshi was born with sickle cell zero beta thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes debilitating pain, and bodily deterioration that both increase with age. They are of Jamaican and Iranian descent.

EKIWAH ADLER-BELÉNDEZ was born in Amatlán, Morelos, in 1987. He is a bilingual and bicultural poet, speaker, and teacher. Author of six poetry books. He edited the book Acto de Presencia (anthology of young poets with disabilities). His latest poetry book, Amor Sobre Ruedas (Love On Wheels), published by Editorial Diecisiete, explores the intersections between disability activism, poetry, eros, fatherhood, and the joys and challenges of using a wheelchair. In 2019, he won the award granted by the British Council and the Programa de Apoyo a la Producción e Investigación en Arte, Medios y Discapacidad to produce La sorprende fuga de María Pérez Inmaculada, a documentary podcast exploring the lives of two married women in wheelchairs fighting for their rights.

ABŪ AL-ʿALĀʾ AL-MAʿARRĪ (c. 973–1057) is an influential blind Arab poet and philosopher known for his reclusive ascetic lifestyle and controversially irreligious worldview. His works include The Unnecessary Necessities (Luzūm mā lā yalzam) and The Tinder Spark (Saqṭ al-zand), amounting to 1,674 poems combined; The Epistle of Forgiveness (Risālat al ghufrān), in which he defends the pre-Islamic poets of Arabia against Muslim critics of his time; and Paragraphs and Periods (Al-fuṣūl wa-l-ghāyāt), in which he openly advocates anti-natalism, veganism, and rationalism.

CHRISTINE BARKLEY is an artist and writer based in the Pacific Northwest. Her writing explores themes of chronic illness, trauma, and nature. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Rust and Moth, Autofocus, CHEAP POP, and elsewhere.

KHAIRANI BAROKKA is a Minang-Javanese writer and artist from Jakarta whose work has been presented internationally. Her work centers disability justice as anti-colonial praxis. She is currently Research Fellow at University of the Arts London, Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing (UK), and UK Associate Artist at Delfina Foundation. Among her honors, she has been Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, an Artforum Must-See, and an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow. Okka’s books are Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis) and Rope (Nine Arches.) She has just published a poetry collection, Ultimatum Orangutan (Nine Arches.)

KAY ULANDAY BARRETT is a poet, essayist, cultural strategist, and A+ napper. They are the winner of the 2022 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly Award for Poetry, a winner of the 2022 Next Book Residency with Tin House, and a recipient of a 2020 James Baldwin Fellowship at MacDowell. Their second book, More Than Organs (Sibling Rivalry Press), received a 2021 Stonewall Honor Book Award by the American Library Association and is a 2021 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Their contributions are found in the New York Times, Poetry, Colorlines, Book Riot, The Advocate, Al Jazeera, Autostraddle, NYLON, Vogue, The Rumpus, The Lily, and elsewhere. For more info: kaybarrett.net

ADRIENNE MARIE BARRIOS is editor-in-chief of Reservoir Road Literary Review and CLOVES Literary. She is co-author of the poetry collection Too Much Tongue (Autofocus), written collaboratively with Leigh Chadwick, and her debut solo collection We Don’t Know That This Is Temporary (Redacted Books). Her work has appeared in trampset, Passages North, Rejection Letters, Stanchion Zine, and HAD, among other journals. She edits award-winning novels and short stories. Find her on Twitter at @AdrienneMarie_ and online at adriennemariebarrios.com.

DJENEBOU BATHILY is a Deaf poet of Malian origin. She is also a Sign singer and an occasional actress. She has participated in theater workshops and in the projects Ciné-Slam and Slam & Signes. Her poems have been published in Les Mains Fertiles: 50 poets in sign language (Éditions Bruno Doucey) and in the no. 11 edition of the Poetic and Social Gazette, “Deaf poetry: the challenges of translating in LSF.”

ROSEBUD BEN-ONI is the author of several collections of poetry, including If This Is the Age We End Discovery, which won the Alice James Award and was a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. Her work appears in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Society of America (PSA), Tin House, Guernica, and Electric Literature, among others. Her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NYC, and in May 2022, Paramount commissioned her video essay “My Judaism Is a Wild Unplace” for a monthlong television campaign for Jewish Heritage Month.

LEVENT BESKARDES is a multidisciplinary Deaf artist who creates poems in French Sign Language (LSF) and Turkish. He was born in Eskişehir, Turkey, and has lived in France since 1980. Poet, actor, director, and visual artist, he has performed at the International Visual Theatre in Paris and has been a featured performer in festivals around the world. He has appeared in a number of films, including J’avancerai vers toi avec les yeux d’un sourd (2015). In 2010, he won the Honorary Prize of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

LYNN BUCKLE is an Irish Deaf/hard-of-hearing author and visual artist. She teaches fine art and creative writing, mostly to hearing students. Her second novel What Willow Says, published by époque press, won the international Barbellion Prize for chronically ill and disabled authors. It is a celebration of sign language, nature, and place. Other work includes her debut novel The Groundsmen, anthologies such as What Meets the Eye: The Deaf Perspective, Infinite Possibilities, Brigid, and literary articles for The Irish Times and Books Ireland Magazine. Awards include The John Hewitt Society Bursary, Greywood Arts Carers Residency, shortlisted for Red Line Short Story Competition, and she represented Ireland as a UNESCO City of Literature Writer in Residence 2021 at the UK National Centre for Writing. She hosts Ireland’s Climate Writers at The Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin.

LEIGH CHADWICK is the author of the poetry collection Your Favorite Poet (Malarkey Books) and the collaborative poetry collection Too Much Tongue (Autofocus), co-written with Adrienne Marie Barrios. Her poetry has appeared in Salamander, Passages North, The Indianapolis Review, and Hobart, among others. She is a regular contributor at Olney Magazine, where she conducts the “Mediocre Conversations” interview series.

SALMA HARLAND is an Egyptian-born, England-based translator who works between Arabic and English. Her literary translations have appeared in the National Centre for Writing’s Emerging Literary Translators Anthology and in literary magazines and journals such as ArabLit Quarterly, Modern Poetry in Translation, Ancient Exchanges, Y’alla: A Texan Journal of Middle Eastern Literature, and Medievalists. She tweets as @salmaharland.

MICHELLE RENEE HOPPE is neurodivergent and works as a teacher in Iowa City. Her work can be found in Saw Palm, South 85 Journal, Cleaver, and Litro, among others.

JOSELIA REBEKAH HUGHES is a Mad/disabled writer and artist living in the Bronx. She’s a poetry co-editor at Apogee Journal. Her writing has appeared in Blackflash Magazine, Ocean State Review, ICA: VCU, The Poetry Project, Split This Rock, Apogee Journal, Leste Magazine, and elsewhere. She’s currently editing her first book, Blackable: A Nopem.

KANG HWAGIL is a multiple award-winning South Korean novelist. One of Korea’s new group of “young feminists,” she has consistently written about women since her debut in 2012. Her literary thrillers draw strong influences from the 19th- and 20th-century Gothic tradition, including writers such as the Brontë sisters, Mary Shelley, and Shirley Jackson. The English translation of her debut full-length novel, Another Person, will be published by Pushkin Press in the UK in 2023.

SHIKI ITSUMA (1917-1959) developed leprosy at 13 and spent the rest of his life in leprosy hospitals. Paralysis of his hands and feet slowly progressed until his fingers were twisted and he was unable to lift the front of his feet. He was married in 1942 and converted to Christianity later the same year. He started to write poetry at 17, mainly for children, something he continued through his whole life, even as his focus turned to writing for adults. His poems were widely published in magazines and anthologies during his lifetime but were not collected until a year after his death. Shiki was a significant influence in changing the public perception of so-called leprosy literature, which became its own genre in Japan. The publication of Kamiya Mieko’s best-selling A Reason for Living, in which she wrote about his life and included some of his poems, significantly increased his readership. A second collection was published in 1984, and both of his collections were republished in one volume in 2020.

ANDY JACKSON is a poet, creative writing teacher, and the inaugural Writing the Future of Health Fellow. The poem “how do we protect the mutant from annihilation by the ‘normal’” was written in collaboration with Gaele Sobott as part of this fellowship. He has co-edited disability-themed issues of Southerly and Australian Poetry Journal, and his latest poetry collection is Human Looking, which won the 2022 ALS Gold Medal.

CYRÉE JARELLE JOHNSON (he/they) is the author of SLINGSHOT (Nightboat Books), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Johnson’s writing has appeared in Poem-a-Day, Poetry, Prompt Press, Apogee, Boston Review, The Root, and the New York Times, among other outlets. In 2020, Johnson received a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

CAMISHA L. JONES is the author of Flare (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have been published in The New York Times, Poets.org, Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database at Split This Rock, and elsewhere. She is a 2022 Disability Futures Fellow, supported by United States Artists, the Ford Foundation, and Mellon Foundation. For 8 years, Camisha served as managing director, festival director, and a Poem of the Week editor at Split This Rock, a national nonprofit based in Washington, DC, that cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes change. She is a co-editor for a forthcoming anthology of disability poetry with Travis Chi Wing Lau, Naomi Ortiz, and Michael Northen.

TRAVIS CHI WING LAU (he/him/his) is assistant professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, and Hypertext, as well as in three chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press), Paring (Finishing Line Press), and Vagaries (Fork Tine Press, 2022).

VIVAN (XIAO WEN) LI is a queer writer, editor, musician, director, and interdisciplinary artist. Her poetry, fiction, and/or creative nonfiction can be found in League of Canadian Poets Anthology: In the Storm/Struggle, The Fiddlehead, filling station, CV2, and Vallum, among others. She was longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, received honorable mentions from Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the Vancouver City Poems Contest. She is an editor for PRISM international. Her creative works engage with themes of Chinese-Canadian identity, mental health, and social justice.

ZEFYR LISOWSKI is a poetry co-editor at Apogee Journal and the author of the Lizzie Borden queer murder chapbook Blood Box (Black Lawrence Press). Her poems and essays have appeared Catapult, The Offing, and elsewhere, and she has received support from Blue Mountain Center, Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, and more. She grew up in the Great Dismal Swamp, NC, and lives at zeflisowski.com.

BHAVNA MEHTA works with paper and fabric, cutting and embroidering to tell stories that combine figurative and landscape imagery with botanical motifs, text, and shadows. Using paper as skin and thread to connect and mend, she makes work about relating and remembering. Bhavna has exhibited widely in San Diego and Southern California. She is the recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship grant, Artists In Communities grant from the California Arts Council, and the Creative Catalyst grant from The San Diego Foundation. In her nonfiction writing, Bhavna is beginning to examine the concept of movement as it relates to living with paraplegia.

OLIVIA MUENZ is a disabled writer from New York. Her debut poetry collection, forthcoming March 2023, won the 2022 Gatewood Prize from Switchback Books. She is the author of the chapbook Where Was I Again (Essay Press) and holds an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, where she received the Robert Penn Warren Thesis Award in prose and served as an editor for New Delta Review. A ’22 Tin House Summer Workshop participant, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, Pleaides, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. Find her online at oliviamuenz.com.

KIERAN MUNDY’s writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, Joyland, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and elsewhere and has been recognized in Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2017 and 2019. She is the recipient of Gulf Coast’s 2020 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, judged by Jenny Offill. She graduated in 2019 with an MFA in fiction from the University of Oregon and has received funding and support for her work from the Vermont Studio Center and Craigardan. She lives in Bend, OR, where she is at work on a short story collection and a novel.

IFE OLATONA is a writer from Nigeria. His writing has been published by or received recognition from The Poetry Society UK, PEN America, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Working on his debut, he will soon begin querying literary agents.

CLAUDE OLSON is a writer, activist, artist, and educator from Rochester, New York. Her work is informed by her experience living with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and by her queer identity. She graduated from Smith College in 2022 with a BA in education & child study. At Smith, she published the story “A Guide to Swedish Death Cleaning” in the campus literary magazine Emulate and authored the zine Organizing Is for Everyone: A Guide for the Emerging Activist. She currently resides in Washington, DC and works for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation as a member of the Education Programs team.

STEPHANIE PAPA is currently an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow. Her poetry and translations have been published in Modern Poetry in Translation, The Stinging Fly, World Literature Today, and Verve Poetry Press anthologies, among others. She is the poetry editor at Venti and is an instructor at the Paris Institute of Critical Thinking.

SALEEM HUE PENNY (him/friend) is a Black poet expanding the pastoral tradition of the Southern Black Belt using a “rural hip-hop blues” aesthetic. The 2021 Poetry Coalition Fellow at Zoeglossia, an assistant poetry editor at Bellevue Literary Review, and a proud Cave Canem Fellow, his writing and hybrid art pieces explore how young people of color traverse wild spaces and define freedom on their own terms. Saleem is committed to disability justice, not only as a macro social worker, mutual aid advocate, and volunteer hospital magician, but as a person with less-visible disabilities and health conditions such as Ramsay Hunt syndrome, single-sided deafness, and bipolar II. He is compiling his first full-length poetry collection and pursuing archival research for a long-form lyric essay set in Reconstruction-era “Affrilachia.”

LEAH LAKSHMI PIEPZNA-SAMARASINHA (she/they) is a nonbinary femme autistic disabled writer, space creator, and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher and Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish and Galician/Roma ascent. The author or co-editor of ten books, including The Future Is Disabled: Beyond Survival; Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (co-edited with Ejeris Dixon), Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, and Dirty River, they are a 2011 Lambda Award winner and multiple-time finalist for both the Lambda and the Publishing Triangle. They are the 2020 winner of Lambda Literary Foundation’s Jean Cordova Award “honoring a lifetime of work documenting the complexities of queer of color/ disabled/ femme experience” and a 2020-2021 Disability Futures Fellow. Since 2009, they have been a lead performer with disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid; since 2020 they have been on the programming committee of the Disability and Intersectionality Summit. Raised in rust belt central Massachusetts and shaped by T’karonto and Oakland, they are currently at work building Living Altars/ The Stacey Park Milbern Liberation Arts Center, a disabled QTBIPOC writers organization and retreat for disabled BIPOC creators. They can be found at brownstargirl.org.

PINKA POPSICKLE/PRIYANKA D'SOUZA is an “artistorian” from Mumbai, India. In her academic and artistic practice, she works with crip time and protest in ecological reimaginings, Mughal miniatures, early modern natural history, and the concept of the ajai’b (wondrous/strange), particularly in imaginings of borderlands of nation-empires and as applied to anomalous/disabled bodies. She is a poet fellow at Zoeglossia ’22, and has been an artist-in-residence at Delfina Foundation, London ’21, and a Dara Shikoh Fellow ’16.

CLARE RICHARDS is a neurodivergent literary translator based in London. She has a particular interest in feminist fiction, and her upcoming publications include Kang Hwagil’s gothic thriller Another Person (Pushkin Press) and Park Min-jung’s short story "Like a Barbie" (Strangers Press). In 2022 Clare founded the D/deaf, Disabled and Neurodivergent Translators Network, and she also leads the UK Society of Authors Translators Association Committee Accessibility Working Group.

ELLEN SAMUELS is a queer disabled poet and professor in the departments of Gender and Women’s Studies and English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of a verse memoir, Hypermobilities (Operating System) and a poetry chapbook, December Morning (Finishing Line Press). Winner of two Lambda Literary Awards, she has published poetry and creative nonfiction widely, including in Tupelo Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Brevity, Journal of the American Medical Association, and the collection Disability Visibility: Voices from the 21st Century.

MAUREEN SEATON has authored two dozen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—recently, Undersea (JackLeg) and Sweet World (CavanKerry), winner of the 2019 Florida Book Award for poetry. Her honors include Lambda Literary Awards for both Lesbian Poetry and Lesbian Memoir, the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, an NEA, and the Pushcart. She was voted Miami’s Best Poet 2020 by The Miami New Times and is professor emerita of English and creative writing at the University of Miami.

DANIEL SLUMAN is a 35-year-old poet and disability rights activist. He co-edited the first major UK disability poetry anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, and he has published three poetry collections with Nine Arches Press. His most recent collection, single window, was released in September 2021 and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize.

GAELE SOBOTT is a writer who lives on Dharug land, western Sydney. Her publications include Colour Me Blue and My Longest Round. Gaele received a 2020 fellowship from the City of Sydney to create internationally award-winning animated poems. She was shortlisted for the 2021 Queensland Poetry Awards Older Poets Mentorship and received a 2021 Varuna Writers Space fellowship. She is the founding director of Outlandish Arts.

A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, BRIAN TEARE is the author of six critically acclaimed books, including Companion Grasses, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award, and Doomstead Days, longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle, Kingsley Tufts, and Lambda Literary Awards. His most recent book is a reissue of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven (Ahsahta 2015/Nightboat 2022). After over a decade of teaching and writing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and eight years in Philadelphia, he’s now an associate professor of poetry at the University of Virginia. An editorial board member of Poetry Daily, he lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books.

JODIE NOEL VINSON holds an MFA in nonfiction creative writing from Emerson College. Her essays and reviews have been published in the New York Times, Harvard Review, Literary Hub, Ploughshares, Electric Literature, Agni, Creative Nonfiction, Catapult, and The Rumpus, among other places. She is the recipient of the Arts & Letters Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction, the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. Jodie lives in Providence, where she is writing a book about the intersections of chronic illness and creative expression.

WAKAYA WELLS (they/them) is Choctaw and was raised in District 8 of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. They received a BA in Native American studies at Dartmouth College, and an MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Wakaya is a Queer Two-Spirit writer, storyteller, and educator. Their work is found at the intersections of identity, mental health, and community. They are currently working to finish their debut novel and poetry collection.

ZUO YOU is a Chinese poet based in Xi’an. His poems have appeared in some major literary magazines in China. Suffering from a hearing impairment, he can only speak a few simple words.

YI ZHE, an EFL teacher in China, holds an MA in English language education at the University of Reading with distinction. He has published in Modern Poetry in Translation, Westerly, Poetry New Zealand, Acumen, The Malahat Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and Two Thirds North.

JOHN NEWTON WEBB is the author of a number of plays and has had poetry published in a variety of magazines. He has recently had translations of Japanese poems published in Modern Poetry in Translation and Asymptote. You can read some of his work and mini-essays on modern Japanese poetry at johnnewtonwebb.blogspot.com. He is British and lives in Sapporo, Japan.

ALLY ZLATAR is the founder of The Starving Artist, an artist initiative that helps broaden perspectives on eating disorders and mental illness, as well as provides a scholarship to help people access inpatient treatment for eating disorders. Zlatar won the Princess Diana Legacy Award 2021, Y20 Award Finalist for Diversity and Inclusion (Youth 20 by G20Summit) and also special recognition from The British Citizen Award 2022. She holds a BFA from Queen’s University and an MLitt Curatorial Practice and Contemporary Art from the Glasgow School of Art. Her doctorate of creative arts is with the University of Southern Queensland. Zlatar is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow (Anderson College, GIC), KICLLondon, and the University of Essex (UEIC).

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