University of Pittsburgh
September 11, 2012

Groundbreaking Anthology on Disability to Be Subject of Reading and Discussion at Pitt Sept 13-14

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—An anthology that has brought a fresh understanding to the American experience of poetry, beauty, the body, and disability will be the focus of a reading and a roundtable discussion at the University of Pittsburgh Sept. 13 and 14. Both events are free and open to the public.

The anthology, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), has been called a “stunningly diverse array of conceptions of self and other” by Publishers Weekly, which previewed it as one of its “big little books.”

Edited by Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett, and Michael Northen, the paperback features the work of 36 poets, most of them contemporary writers from various “schools” of poetry. Bartlett says the poets “reflect on pressing issues of our cultural moment, including the frangibility of the body, the intersection of body and machine, the commodification of the body, and other questions looming . . . about the very nature and being of beauty and function.”

Beauty is a Verb is currently on the Poetry Foundation’s best-selling anthologies list as well as on the 2012 American Libraries Association Notable Books List.

Both events will utilize an ALS interpreter and real-time captioning. The reading will be followed by a reception and anthologies will be available for purchase. Details on the two events follow:

Sept. 13

8:30 p.m.

Poetry Reading

O’Hara Student Center Auditorium, 2nd floor

4024 O’Hara St., Oakland

These poets will read their own works from the anthology and selections by others:

Jennifer Bartlett, a 2005 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, whose collections include (a) lullaby without music (Chax, 2012) and Derivative of the Moving Image (University of New Mexico Press, 2007);

Michael Northen, the long-time facilitator of the Philadelphia-based Inglis House Poetry Workshop and editor of Woodgathering, A Journal of Disability and Poetry; and

Kathi Wolfe, whose collections include Helen Takes the Stage: The Helen Keller Poems (Pudding House, 2008) and who has read at many venues, including the Kennedy Center.

Sept. 14

10 a.m.-noon

Roundtable Discussion

“Disability/Disability Studies in the Humanities”

Pitt Humanities Center

602 Cathedral of Learning

4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland

Moderated by Pitt professor of English Curtis Breight, the discussion of disability issues as they relate to academic life and the humanities in particular will include Bartlett and Northen as well as the following participants:

Kate Seelman, associate dean of Disability Programs, professor of rehabilitation science and technology, Pitt School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences;

Jonathan Duvall, Pitt master’s student in rehabilitation science and technology and president of the University’s Students for Disability Advocacy;

Cate Willits, Pitt PhD student in English whose work draws on disability studies; and 

Lynnett Van Slyke, director of Pitt’s Office of Disability Resources and Services.

For more information on the events, call 412-320-5022.