VERITY LA POETRY PODCAST Episode 14: Disrupting the (Dis)Ableist Narrative

Verity La Disrupt, New, Verity La Poetry Podcast

QPF 2019: In this episode of the Verity La Poetry Podcast, Verity La Managing Editor Michele Seminara is joined at the 2019 Queensland Poetry Festival by poet Andy Jackson and Disrupt editors Amanda Tink and Gaele Sobott to discuss the intersection between artistic work and disability. Their conversation spans not only the challenges disabled creatives can sometimes face, but also the erasure of disability from discussions of Australian literary fixtures such as Henry Lawson, Judith Wright and Les Murray, plus the positive aspects of being a creator with a disability, and much more.     

In this episode we hear Andy’s poems ‘Mutual Obligation’ and ‘What I Have Under My Shirt’ along with Gaele’s poem ‘I Was Born (Misfit)’. Amanda reads Cheryl Marie Wade’s poem ‘I Am Not One of The’. And the panel recommend some great disability arts organisations such as Outlandish Arts, Disability Arts Online, Disability Literature Consortium and the journal Word Gathering. Dive in! 

Listen to the episode here. 

Missed our earlier episodes? Listen here!

Podcast producer: Alice Allan


Andy Jackson has performed at literary events and arts festivals in Australia, India, USA and Ireland – including the Castlemaine State Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival, with Each Map of Scars, a puppetry-poetry-film collaboration on grief, bodies and empathy. His poems have been included in five of the last six annual Best Australian Poetry anthologies, and his most recent collection, Music our bodies can’t hold (Hunter Publishers 2017), which consists of portrait poems of other people with Marfan Syndrome, was recently featured on ABC Radio National’s Earshot. Andy has worked in call-centres, libraries, and as a creative writing tutor, and has almost finished a PhD in poetry and bodily otherness through the University of Adelaide. Find more from Andy at his website

Image: Portrait of Gaele SobottGaele Sobott has published a range of acclaimed works including, Colour Me Blue and My Longest Round. She identifies as a disabled artist and was selected for the first cohort of the Australia Council for the Arts 2014 Sync Leadership Program. In 2015 she was artist in residence at Google Australia. Gaele is the founding director of Outlandish Arts. She produced NoRMAL, a performance of stories by four artists on their experiences of disability, the Australian tour of Caroline Bowditch’s, Falling in Love with Frida, the Australia-UK creative development of Deaf Australian playwright Sofya Gollan’s play, MotherLode, in London, and Fools’ Gold, a series of poetry performances, workshops and critical discussion events involving artists who experience psychological and emotional distress. Gaele was commissioned to write Zaphora and Ali for Urban Theatre Projects’ Home Country staged by Sydney Festival 2017. She participated in the DADAA and Perth International Arts Festival Aesthetics of Access residency in March 2017 with Jenny Sealey MBE, Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company UK. She was also selected to take part in the two-week Jo Bannon Penetration and Performance residency in Adelaide in August 2017. Gaele facilitated the Access2Arts Embody project for disabled writers and is currently leading the Writing Me project. She has just completed a collection of short stories about life in an apartment building in Lakemba, Sydney, where she resides.

Image: portrait of Amanda TinkAmanda Tink is a writer, and researcher of Australian disability literature at Western Sydney University. She lives in front of her laptop and braille display with good coffee nearby, and tweets at @amandatink.