Publication date: 30th May 2017
Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back, edited by Sandra Alland, Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, is a ground-breaking anthology examining UK disabled and D/deaf poetics. Packed with fierce poetry, essays, photos and links to accessible online videos and audio recordings, it showcases a diversity of opinions and survival strategies for an ableist world. With contributions that span Vispo to Surrealism, and range from hard-hitting political commentary to intimate lyrical pieces, these poets refuse to perform or inspire according to tired old narratives.
“This is a collection which redefines what poetry is. This is a collection which is nearly as varied as the diversity of impairment and disability and D/deaf experiences in Britain today. This is a collection which I will read and re-read until I have absorbed the richness and colour and anger and misery and humour and power of it.”
– Tom Shakespeare, author, Disability Rights and Wrongs
“The face of next-generation disability poetics announces itself with a roar – razor-fine lyric, body knowledge, crip humour and revolutionary grief are all on display, along with something more: the joy of the discovered self. The poems here are gorgeous and important.” – Sheila Black, co-editor, Beauty is a Verb
“Stairs and Whispers is an incredible addition to crip literature that I’m excited to add to my shelf! The poems and essays featured here are at once devastating, enraging, and uproarious for me as a queer neurodivergent writer of colour.” – Lydia X. Z. Brown, activist, writer and speaker
“Watching the new surge of Deaf poets take on the world of BSL, film and creative captioning feels very important … to reclaim the right to be a poet and to use both signed and written word to demonstrate the diversity and richness of the Deaf community … commenting on being Deaf, politics of identity and a celebration of who we are." – Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre
About the Editors:
Alland’s collections include Blissful Times (BookThug, 2007) and Naturally Speaking (espresso, 2012). Barokka's works include Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis, 2016) and Rope (Nine Arches, 2017). Sluman has two books with Nine Arches: Absence has a weight of its own (2012) and The Terrible (2015).
Daniel Sluman’s bleak brilliance in the terrible is a masterclass in the power of poetry to confront difficult subject matter with accuracy and painstaking openness. These are rigorous and exacting poems, that dare to go to some of the darkest places and speak with stark precision.
‘Vivid and honest poems of intense experience, in which no wound is too deep to be cauterised by language.' – Jean Sprackland