New Mexico State University English professor Connie Voisine is a co-founder of Zoeglossia, an organization for poets and writers who identify as having a disability. | Photo courtesy NMSU
Zoeglossia has selected 13 disabled poets as fellows for their 2021 conference. The fellowship provides the poets with the opportunity to attend an annual retreat/conference and work with established writers who are also disabled.
This year the event, hosted by New Mexico State University, will be held entirely online May 20-23 due to restrictions required by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The NMSU College of Arts and Sciences is excited to have the opportunity to assist Zoeglossia and its NMSU-based co-founder Dr. Connie Voisine in providing this important venue for poets living life with disabilities to develop and share their voices to a national and international audience,” said James Murphy, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We look forward to the conference, to the pubic readings it will present, and to the intellectual and emotional growth we can each achieve when all voices are nurtured and displayed.”
Zoeglossia, founded by poets Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Voisine, NMSU Professor of English, is an emerging literary organization that dedicates itself to providing inclusive space for poets and writers who identify as disabled. Through an open and supportive membership, year-round online programming and annual retreats, Zoeglossia offers them community and mentorship.
“Zoeglossia is the first organization of its kind and the partnership with New Mexico State University came at a time when we were looking for a home for our upcoming virtual conference for our new and returning fellows this spring,” Voisine said. “Our first conference (in 2019) made it clear how necessary coming together is for our fellows and teachers.”
Zoeglossia’s fellows include Sylvia Chan, Ava Cipri, Jim Ferris, torrin a. greathouse, Kimberly Jackson, Karl Knights, Sean Mahoney, Liv Mammone, Maurice Moore, Leslie McIntosh, Alayna Powell, Ricky Ray and Rae Rose.
Visit zoeglossia.org for more information on the fellowship program and/or get on their mailing list for the next application cycle.
More about the 2020-21 Fellows:
Sylvia Chan is a former jazz pianist who teaches at the University of Arizona and serves as court advocate for foster kids. She is nonfiction editor at “Entropy.”
Ava C. Cipri is a non-binary writer, educator, and activist in Pittsburgh, who authored two chapbooks: “Queen of Swords” and “Leaving The Burdened Ground.”
Jim Ferris is author of “Slouching Towards Guantanamo, Facts of Life, and The Hospital Poems,” and the past president of the Society for Disability Studies and the Disabled & D/deaf Writers Caucus.
torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk poet from Southern California and the author of two chapbooks: “Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm” (Damaged Goods, 2017) and “boy/girl/ghost” (The Atlas Review/TAR Chapbook Series, 2018).
Kimberly Jackson is an award-winning Slam poet, author, and educator who is also disabled.
Karl Knights is an autistic writer with cerebral palsy living in Suffolk, England. His poetry and prose have appeared in The Guardian, The Dark Horse, and elsewhere.
Sean Mahoney lives in Santa Ana, California with Dianne, her mother, 3 dogs, and 4 renters. He co-runs the Disability Literature Consortium created in 2016 by like-minded disability advocates.
Liv Mammone is an editor and poet from Long Island, and the first disabled woman to be on a New York national poetry slam team in 2017 for Union Square Slam.
Maurice Moore is currently a doctoral Performance Studies student at the University of California-Davis who recently completed his Master’s in African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Leslie McIntosh is a poet, performer, educator, and mental health professional living in Jersey City, New Jersey. She has participated in regional workshops at Cave Canem’s Brooklyn office and is a fellow of The Watering Hole.
Alayna Powell is a poetry student at the University of Pittsburgh and plans to pursue an MFA in creative writing.
Ricky Ray is a disabled poet, critic and editor who lives on the outskirts of the Hudson Valley.
Rae Rose is a California poet and essayist whose work has been published in Cicada Magazine and other literary journals. Her book, Bipolar Disorder for Beginners is an account, in poetry and prose, of her struggles with that disease.
For full bios on the Fellows, visit this website
Author: Tonya Suther – NMSU