Disabled & D/deaf Writers Caucus Executive & Advisory Boards

AWP Disability Caucus Executive Board is comprised of individuals who will serve two-year terms & be elected by Caucus members at the annual AWP conference. The Advisory Board will help guide the Executive Board’s decisions & contribute to overseeing committees & task forces.

According to our bylaws, nominations are accepted in election years during the Call for Agenda Items, which opens on the first day of the month that precedes the conference. In 2016, the Call for Agenda Items for the 2016 AWP Disability Caucus closes March 10, 2016.

2016-2017 AWP Disability Caucus Executive Board

President: Jim Ferris
Jim Ferris is the current poet laureate of Lucas County, Ohio. He is author of Slouching Towards Guantanamo, Facts of Life, and The Hospital Poems. He has won awards for creative nonfiction and mathematics as well as performance and poetry. Ferris holds the Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies at the University of Toledo, where he directs the Disability Studies Program.

Vice President: Sheila Black
Sheila Black is the author of House of Bone, Love/Iraq (both CW Press), and Wen Kroy, which received the 2011 Orphic Prize in Poetry from Dream Horse Press . She co-edited with Jennifer Bartlett and Michael Northen, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, (Cinco Puntos Press), named a 2012 Notable Book for Adults by the American Library Association.  In 2012, she was a Witter Bynner Fellow, selected by Philip Levine.  She lives in San Antonio, Texas where she directs Gemini Ink, a literary arts center.  

Vice President: Ellen McGrath Smith
Ellen McGrath Smith teaches at the University of Pittsburgh and in the Carlow University Madwomen in the Attic program. Her writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Los Angeles Review, Quiddity, Cimarron, and other journals, and in several anthologies, including Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Smith has been the recipient of an Orlando Prize, an Academy of American Poets award, a Rainmaker Award from Zone 3 magazine, and a 2007 Individual Artist grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her second chapbook, Scatter, Feed, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in the fall of 2014, and her book, Nobody’s Jackknife, was published in 2015 by the West End Press.

Secretary: Kelly Davio
Kelly Davio is the Senior Poetry Editor of Eyewear Publishing in London, England, and the Poetry Editor of Tahoma Literary Review. She is the author of the poetry collection Burn This House (Red Hen Press, 2013), and her poems appear in venues like Gargoyle, Poetry Northwest, The Cincinnati Review, and others. Her nonfiction appears in The Rumpus, The Toast, and The Nervous Breakdown, and she writes the column “The Waiting Room” for Change Seven Magazine. 

Communications Coordinator: Jennifer Bartlett
Jennifer Bartlett was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and educated at the University of New Mexico, Vermont College, and Brooklyn College. She is the author of Derivative of the Moving Image (UNM Press 2007), (a) lullaby without any music (Chax 2012), and Autobiography/Anti-Autobiography (Theenk 2014). Bartlett also co-edited, with Sheila Black and Michael Northen, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability.


2016-2017 AWP Disability Caucus Advisory Board

Meg Day
Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014), winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, & a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. Day holds a Ph.D. in Poetry & Disability Poetics & is Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Lancaster, PA. www.megday.com

Michael Northen
Michael Northen edits Wordgathering, A Journal of Disability and Poetry and is co-editor of the anthology Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. For fourteen years he was facilitated the Inglis House Poetry Workshop for writers with disability. With Sheila Black he is currently editing an anthology of disability short fiction that will published in 2016. An educator for more than 40 years, Northen has taught adults with physical disabilities, women on public assistance, prisoners, and rural and inner city children.

Jillian Weise
Jillian Weise is the author of The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (Soft Skull Press, 2007), the novel The Colony (Soft Skull / Counterpoint, 2010) and The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions), which won the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her essays have appeared in A Public Space, The New York Times and Tin House. In response to AWP-16’s rejection of all panels on disability aesthetic, she created “AWP Tips for Writers by Tipsy Tullivan.” www.jillianweise.com