“The future lives in our bodies”: Poetry & Disability Justice

“The future lives in our bodies”: Poetry & Disability Justicea virtual reading and discussion, will feature Meg DayCyrée Jarelle JohnsonLeah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and Travis Chi Wing Lau, who will also host and moderate. 

Lambda Literary and Woodland Pattern Book Center are partnering to host this pre-recorded poetry reading and conversation as part of the Poetry Coalition’s shared programming around a theme of social importance. The readings will be followed by a discussion among presenting artists on the topic of Poetry & Disability Justice. The broadcast will feature ASL interpretation and captioning, as well as a PDF pamphlet of each reader’s poems for attendees to view. A commemorative chapbook with poems from each participant will be designed and printed by pitymilk press, and made available free by mail to all who tune in live on March 13th.

The title “The future lives in our bodies” is taken from the poem “Femme Futures” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha


This event is one of many events taking place during March 2022 in conjunction with the Poetry Coalition, under the collective heading “The Future Lives in our Bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice,” with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for support of Poetry Coalition programming.


Deaf, genderqueer poet Meg Day is the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street, 2014), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, and a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the co-editor of Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master (Pleiades, 2019). A recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship and an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, Day’s work can be found in, or is forthcoming from, Best American Poetry 2020, the New York TimesPoetry Magazine, and elsewhere. Day is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College.

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a poet, tarot and playing card reader, herbalism apprentice, and student of the collective unconscious from Piscataway, NJ. SLINGSHOT, his first book of poems, won the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He was a 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry fellow, and the inaugural Poet in Residence at Brooklyn Public Library. 

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a nonbinary femme disabled writer and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher and Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish, and Galician Romani ascent. They are the author or co-editor of nine books, including (with Ejeris Dixon) Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice MovementTonguebreakerCare Work: Dreaming Disability Justice; and Bodymap. A Lambda Award winner who has been shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle five times, they are the 2020 Jean Cordova Award winner “honoring a lifetime of work documenting the complexities of queer experience” and are a 2020 Disability Futures Fellow. Raised in rustbelt central Massachusetts and shaped by T'karonto and Oakland, they currently make home in South Seattle, Duwamish territories. Their new book, The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs, is forthcoming in October 2022.  

Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on 18th- and 19th-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health HumanitiesPublic BooksLapham’s Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in WordgatheringGlassSouth Carolina ReviewFoglifter, and Hypertext, as well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020).