Poetry is Everyone’s Art By Diane R. Wiener, Guest Editor 1. The poets in this double-issue anthology of Nine Mile Art & Literary Magazine are “writing while disabled”: that is, disability, deafness, neurodivergence, and mental illness are part of their lives. They hail from myriad cultural locations, ages, ethnicities, and geographies, from the United States and around the globe, and from the magazine’s home area, in Central NewYork. What’s interesting is that irrespective of location or situation, their disability, deafness, neurodivergence, and mental illness are neither limitations nor predictors of the kind ofpoetry they write or the subjects they choose to write about. Variety is their banner; their poetry is for everyone. That marvelous phrase, “writing while disabled,” is from a recent New York Times essay, “We Will Not Be Exorcised,” by Khadijah Queen and Jillian Weise, that included work by disabled poets and visual artists. It begins, “It’s possible that you are new to poetry by writers like us, but it’s muchmore likely that you just think you are. In fact, poets have always been writing while disabled.” (I quote more from this essay, below.) The essay is one of a number of essays that have appeared recently, a sign of the emerging consciousness and interest in this literature. I want to do several things in this introduction: provide some context for the kind of“identity” words so often used to describe the poets, and then describe how those words have been taken back and transformed, as well as created by their communities; share some details about the expansive work happening in our poetry community; and highlight for the reader what I find exciting about the poets and poems included here. At the conclusion of this essay, for those interested, I include several sites that feature work and discussion by members of relevant groups and movements mentioned, with some examples from poets in this collection, and a few other resources. 2. To begin—about our use of words: Disability, Deaf, Autistic, Page 22 - Nine Mile Magazine

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