The Poetry Center's In Common Writers Series opens 2020 with a double program featuring two remarkable poet/writers, each with significant work in disability poetics and activism. This event—the first of two evenings with Jennifer Bartlett and Denise Leto—is supported by the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, and is free and open to the public.
Jennifer Bartlett was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BA from the University of New Mexico and an MFA from Vermont College. She is the author of Hindrances of a Householder (Chax 2016), Autobiography/Anti-Autobiography (theenk Books, 2014), lullaby without any music (Chax Press, 2012), and Derivative of the Moving Image (University of New Mexico Press, 2007). Of her work, Nathaniel Tarn writes, “Jennifer Bartlett has created not a new form of surrealism, nor of magical realism, but a kind of supernal realism which leaves room for dreams, visions, and angels as well as the panoplies of both country and urban life.”
Bartlett is currently finishing a biography on the life of Black Mountain poet Larry Eigner. In 2017, she cofounded Zoeglossia, a literary organization pioneering an inclusive space for poets with disabilities. With Sheila Black and Michael Northen, she also coedited Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Bartlett has received fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Counsel, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the University of Connecticut, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and she works part-time in the Office of the President of New York City Transit. Here she works with a team on bringing accessibility to the New York City transit system. In addition to being a poet and writer, she is an activist for people with disabilities throughout New York.
Denise Leto is a multidisciplinary poet, writer, editor, and dance dramaturge. She wrote the book of poetry for the collaborative dance performance Your Body is Not a Shark, exploring feminist embodiment, voice, and disability poetics. Her work has appeared in publications such as Posit: A Journal of Literature and Art; The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility and the Avant-Garde; and Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. She has been a visiting artist at the University of Iowa, Naropa University, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Breadloaf Poetry Fellowship in Sicily, and the Queer Sugarloaf Art Residency. Denise is a member of Olimpias, an international disability performance collective. The collaborative article, “In Practice: A Dancer Poet Creature Conversation” with Sima Belmar was published in the December issue of In Dance. Her current project is an ecopoetic exploration of the San Francisco Bay. New poems are forthcoming in Quarterly West and Rogue Agent.