The Deaf Poets Society is an online literary journal that publishes poetry, prose, cross-genre work, reviews of Deaf or disability-focused books, interviews/miscellany, and art by D/deaf and/or disabled writers and artists. Founded in 2016, our mission is to provide a venue for D/deaf and disability literature and art, as well as to connect readers with established and emerging talent in the field.
We're looking for narratives about the D/deaf and/or disabled experience that complicate or altogether undo the dominant and typically marginalizing rhetoric about deafness or disability. We especially want to highlight work that investigates the complexity of the experience across identities. Whether you're drawing from experiences related to gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, or any other marginalized identity, we want your voice in our journal. For more on our vision, check out our manifesto published in Drunken Boat.
Note: Writers and artists who have chronic pain or are neurodivergent are members of our community and should feel free to submit.
Sarah Katz, Poetry Editor
[Image Description: A white woman with brown hair & a dress patterned with orange & pink flowers stands in a wooded area. Photo Credit: Leanne Bowers.]
Sarah Katz writes poetry, essays, and book reviews. Her work appears in Deaf Lit Extravaganza, MiPOesias, RHINO Poetry, and The Rumpus. She earned an M.F.A. in poetry from American University, where she received the Myra Sklarew Award for her thesis. She has also been awarded the 2015 District Lit Prize and a residency at Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry manuscript, Country of Glass, was named a finalist by Robert Pinsky for Tupelo Press's 2016 Dorset Prize. Sarah lives with her husband, Jonathan, in Fairfax, Virginia, and works as a bookseller at a new independent bookstore in Vienna, Virginia, called Bards Alley.
Ava C. Cipri, Poetry Editor
[Image Description: A white woman with black, close-cropped hair & a purple tank & jeans stands in front of a triptych.]
Ava C. Cipri teaches writing at Duquesne University. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where she edited Salt Hill. Ava’s poetry and nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in 2River View, Cimarron Review, decomP, Drunken Boat, Rust + Moth, WHR, Whiskey Island Review, and PROSODY: NPR-affliate WESA’s weekly show featuring the work of national writers. Her award-winning tanka sequence “From the Barre” is featured in AHA Books’ Twenty Years, Tanka Splendor. She is anthologized in Red Moon Press’ Contemporary Haibun Anthology and SUNY’s Unruly Catholic Women Writers II. Next reincarnation she wants to be drawn with wings. Ava resides at www.avaccipri.com.
Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Poetry Editor
[Image Description: A black person in glasses, dark pants, & a jean vest stands on a spiral staircase by a bridge & lake. Photo Credit: Nicole Myles, 2015.]
Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a black non-binary essayist and poet living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Cyree's work explores femininity as resistance and rebellion, emerging femme thought, and community as a site of trauma. Their writing has appeared in digital and print outlets in the United States, Canada, and Europe including Feministing, Black Girl Dangerous, and most recently in the Spring 2016 issue of Bedfellows. Get in touch on their website cyreejarellejohnson.com.
T. K. Dalton, Prose Editor-at-Large
[Image Description: A white man w/ dark hair sits on on a desk, notebooks beside him & papers tacked to a board behind him.]
T. K. Dalton's essays have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and inclusion in Best of the Net. His fiction and nonfiction are forthcoming in The Common, Duende, and Front Porch Journal, and appear in The Millions, Tahoma Literary Review, Radical Teacher, Deaf Lit Extravaganza, Disability Studies Quarterly, and elsewhere. With poet John Maney, Jr., he edited What if Writing is Dreaming Together? He earned an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon and is currently writing a memoir. Tim lives with his family in New York City, where he works as an ASL-English interpreter.
Denarii Monroe, Nonfiction Editor
[Image Description: Me, a fat brown-skinned Black woman, seen from the hips up. I look hella cute in a button-down, off-white blouse, blue jeans, a curly-ish afro, makeup, and a pinkish beige flower in my hair. I'm wearing my glasses. I have a gap between my two front teeth. I have a faux surprised look on my face, including my hands on the side of my face like I'm in shock. I'm standing in front of a door.]
New York based social justice warrior Denarii (rhymes with “canary”) Monroe is an aspiring screenwriter, freelance writer and editor, a long time activist, and a weirdo. She’s a Rutgers University alum and a two-year Pace University dropout; she studied English and Adolescent Education, respectively. Most of her decade-long activist work has been rooted in student activism, with a focus on intersectional LGBTQIA2S+ (plus) issues, but she has also helped organize in and outside of school around anti-war, women’s, and other issues. Today Denarii's activism mostly focuses on bi+ (plus) identity and issues, disability, Blackness, and fat acceptance, though she also talks about gender, class, and other issues. Her activism is mostly through her writing, but she also has experience moderating and participating in panels and webinars and facilitating workshops, among other things. Denarii is a board member of and blog editor for the Boston-based non-profit Bisexual Resource Center.
As a freelance writer, she has written for Bitch Magazine, Black Girl Dangerous, Extra Crispy, The Development Set, Brooklyn Magazine, and Everyday Feminism, among several others. She is a regular contributing writer at Resist Media. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Mad selfies (with image descriptions), pictures of her dog named Dog and her cat named Cat, raving about her latest celebrity crush (currently Elijah Kelley), and ranting (or retweeting) about the writing process and racist, ableist, classist, fat-antagonistic heteropatriachary. She loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as soul food, red wine, cooking and baking, and the blues. Hanson is her favorite band ever (yes, that Hanson). She’s Black AF. Denarii's sometimes inactive blog is at Medium; her full writing portfolio is on Contently. She hopes that her activist fight for liberation for all and her screenwriting and filmmaking are the legacies she will leave behind.
Sandy Ho, Nonfiction Editor
[Image description: An Asian-American woman with brunette hair is lying prostrate on a light blue carpet in a well-lit sunny room behind the wheel of her wheelchair; she is reading a book and looking contemplative with her chin in the palm of her hand. The spokes and rim of the wheel are at the foreground of the image. She is wearing a light blue checkered dress, and a dark blue short sleeved vest. The woman is looking down at her book and away from the camera. In the background are opened red curtains, and a neon green chair.]
Sandy Ho is a community-organizer, and disability justice activist residing in Boston, MA. When not wearing her day-job hat, Sandy is co-teaching the first-ever interdisciplinary Disability Studies course at Lesley University. She is also the founder, and co-organizer of the Disability & Intersectionality Summit, as well as the former Program Manager for the Thrive Mentoring group for disabled young women where she founded the international Letters to Thrive project. In 2015, she was honored as a White House Champion of Change for her community-building work among young women with disabilities, and the importance of mentorship. In 2009, she began her passion for social justice and community-organizing as an AmeriCorps member working to create change in access to higher education among first-generation community college students. Sandy is informed by her values as a child of Asian immigrants, her queer identity, and her socio-political community ties as a proud criptastic woman. She continues to serve on the Easter Seals Massachusetts Board of Directors and has since 2013. Other than a heavy-dose of activism and rabble-rousing, she dislikes professional bios and prefers to keep things low-key with a healthy stack of literary fiction and an even healthier mound of ice cream by her side. Sandy was born, raised, and educated in Massachusetts but also proudly shares residency with Red Sox Nation. You can find her on instagram (for her book reviews) at oiperfect and on twitter as @IntersectedCrip.
Natalie E. Illum, Nonfiction Editor
Image Description: Photo of a woman with brown hair in a pink floral dress sitting on the outdoor steps of a courtyard in DC. Her back is mostly to the camera, but she has turned her face and body to the right. Next to her are forearm crutches and sunglasses, which look to be sliding down the stairs. She is wearing pink croc shoes. Original photograph by Corwin Levi.
Natalie E. Illum is a poet, disability activist, and singer living in Washington DC. She was a founded board member of the mothertongue, a DC women's open mic and poetry organization that lasted 15 years. She competed on the National Poetry Slam circuit for 5 years and was the 2013 Beltway Grand Slam Champion. Her work has appeared in Word Warriors: 35 Women of the Spokenword Revolution (Seal Press) and Full Moon on K Street (Plan B Press), as well as in Feminist Studies, Breath & Shadows, Kaleidoscope, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Beltway Quarterly, Button Poetry and on NPR's Snap Judgment. Natalie has two poetry chapbooks Ground Lover (2004) and On Writer’s Block and Acrobats (2006), as well as Spastic, a one-woman show forever in progress. She has been featured in The Huffington Post, oxJane and Salon Magazine. She will be the writer-in-residence at the ARGS Residency (October 2017) and will be staying in their ADA compliant-yet-historic property working on a mixed-genre sequence on body shaming and body acceptance, specifically from the lens of the physically and/or mentally dis/abled body. She has shared the stage with Andrea Gibson, Michelle Tea, Regie Cabico and many other National performers, and has taught a variety of writing workshops with students across the country. Natalie has an MFA in creative writing from American University, and teaches workshops in a variety of venues. For work samples and outdated information, visit www.natalieillum.net. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as poetryrox and as one half of All Her Muses, her current musical project.
Alaina Leary, Fiction Editor
[Image description: a person with long brown and purple hair, wearing a sweater that says "I am a poem" and a tulle skirt, standing outside with a purple cane.]
Alaina Leary is an activist, editor, and storyteller in Boston, MA. She's a social media editor for We Need Diverse Books. Her work has been published in the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Marie Claire, The Rumpus, Brooklyn Magazine, Bustle, Bust, Everyday Feminism, and more. She has an MA in publishing from Emerson College, and was awarded a Bookbuilders of Boston scholarship for her work increasing intersectional representation in the publishing industry. When she's not busy reading, she can usually be found spending time with her two cats or covering everything in glitter.
Alexander Long, Fiction Editor
[Image Description: It’s an extreme close-up of Alex’s grinning face. He’s got black hipster
glasses, a stubble beard and, as usual, his forehead is wrapped in his trademark black paisley bandana (a habit borne out of a need to keep his hearing aid dry). He’s standing in front of a typical Arizona adobe wall while wearing a sports-themed blue shirt. It’s not easy to spot but you can see a hearing aid tube in his left ear. Perhaps the most striking detail is the slight reflection of a tree-lined sky on the uppermost edge of his spectacles.]
Alex Long is currently an MA English student at Arizona State and just got his bachelor’s in creative writing from the University of Arizona in December 2016 some twenty-three years after graduating high school at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf. His writing is prominently featured mostly as rough drafts in his own cloud data although he hopes
to push his memoir and real-life fiction work further into the public realm. The Austin American-Statesman daily newspaper in Texas featured a personal essay of his about being a deaf pedicab operator in 2014. He did extensive journalism writing from 1998 to 2001,
including for Gallaudet University’s Buff and Blue and the defunct Silent News. Growing up in Rochester, NY, he experienced a wide range of educational programs, including mainstream oral classes and hearing schools on his own before his one year at MSSD baptized him as a signing Deaf man. He resides in Tucson, AZ and loves his four dogs to the point of getting painful tennis elbows from all the tosses on the enchanting Sonoran trails.
Travis Chi Wing Lau, Ideas Editor
[Image Description: A black-and-white portrait of an Asian American man standing in a white knit cardigan and plaid shirt. He's wearing glasses with black frames.]
Travis Chi Wing Lau is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Department of English. His research interests include eighteenth and nineteenth-century British literature, the history of medicine, and disability studies. His academic writing has been published in the Journal of Homosexuality, Romantic Circles, and English Language Notes (forthcoming). His creative writing has appeared in Atomic, Feminine Inquiry, Wordgathering, Assaracus, Rogue Agent, and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology.
Maia Dolphin-Krute, Ideas Editor
[Image Description: A snapshot showing a paper ghost emerging from a bathtub is held by a white woman obscured by the photo except for part of her hand, a black shirt, and curly brown hair.]
Maia Dolphin-Krute is a writer and artist based in Boston, having graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in 2014. She is the author of Ghostbodies: Towards a new theory of invalidism (Intellect, 2017), Visceral: Essays on Illness Not as Metaphor (punctum books, 2017) and the chapbook Aron Ralston: States of Injury (glo worm press, 2016). Her essays and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in American Chordata, Full-Stop, Gigantic Sequins and elsewhere, and her performances have been shown at venues including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Currently, Dolphin-Krute is engaged in a long-term project about the forms of freedom that become possible when continually modulated by physical experiences and material proximities; about how do you live with. More information about this and other projects can be found at www.ghostbodies.com.
Janet Morrow, Art Editor
[Image Description: A white woman w/ medium-length red hair in jeans & a blue top leans against a table in a cluttered studio.]
Janet Morrow is a conceptual artist and teacher. Much of her work examines themes of deafness, disability and otherness. She holds an MFA in Intermedia Studio Art from The University of Texas at Arlington. Her work has been exhibited at Surface Gallery in Nottingham, England, Access Gallery in Austin, The Smithsonian International Gallery in Washington, D.C., and many other venues. She has taught art and Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Arlington and Tarrant County College Northeast and currently teaches art for the MHMR Pine Street Recovery Center. Janet lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with her husband Jerry. She has two grown children and is a very proud new Grandma.
MANDEM, Art Editor
[Image Description: The three members of MANDEM pose in an art gallery, in front of a giant painting. In the center is Moco, a hunchback in a bright blue wheelchair. They wear leather-style pants, a black and red short sundress, multicolored glasses, and custom braces on their legs, wrists, and neck. Their colorful plaited hair falls over one shoulder. To their right is Kiki, a five-year-old with black and white striped pants, Spider-Man shoes, a denim vest, and a punk stocking cap. The child has one hand on Moco's wheelchair, and a very serious expression. To the left, Maize kneels on the floor to be at the same height as the other members of MANDEM. Maize wears a biker jacket and they have black goggles pushed back into their short blue-gray hair. Maize is the only one smiling in the photo.
Behind them, the painting has a brightly colored abstract feel, but is cut through with violent black lines and scrawled words. Only a few phrases are visible from the photo, including "Evolution works" and "Hysteria." Against this background is painted a realistic feminine figure with scoliosis and a visibly dislocated shoulder. The painting is MANDEM's mixed media piece titled "Hypermobility/Hysteria."]
MANDEM is a media-fluid artist conglomerate that identifies as nonbinary, neurodiverse, and disabled. Their work on disability poetics, the visceral body, gender, and childhood is in critical dialogue with art history, religious iconography/mythology, and various -punk aesthetics. They can claim an MFA (studio art) and MA (interdisciplinary humanities) from Florida State University, where they were the recipient of the Florence Teaching Award Fellowship. They recently received an Ohio Arts Council (OAC) Individual Artist Grant for their work on the Hypermobility series. In addition to showing in many museum and gallery shows, MANDEM's art has appeared in numerous journals, including Rogue Agent, Menacing Hedge, and Cahoodaloodaling. MANDEM lives in a centenarian house in urban Cleveland, surrounded by the empty lots where Little Hungary used to be. They are currently artists-in-residence at Negative Space Gallery.
I.S. Jones, Grant Writer
[Image Description: A smiling black woman with a fro of tight, spiral curls is standing at a microphone. She's wearing a black halter.]
I.S. Jones is a writer, educator, and hip-hop head hailing from Southern California. She is a second-year fellow with The Watering Hole, BOAAT Writer's Retreat, and Callaloo. I.S. is very Blk & loud about her joy. She has received an honorable mention from the Academy of American Poets, her work has received two nominations for the Best of The Net Anthology and in 2016 was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
As a historian and an architect with the written word, each of her poems are lyrical meditations on race, love, familial dynamics, poetics of witness, and the uses of rage while often employing mythos and engaging socio-political commentary.