Special Ed Is Down the Hall: Disabled and Proud by Marlin Duane Thomas (Author), Cynthia A. Campbell (Author)
Marlin was a badass poet. He first helped me understand disability pride and was a true and thoughtful person who shared this depth in his poetry. Marlin captures truth and tenderness as he shares from his life as a disabled black man. Everything from the shifting of identity as he became disabled, reflections on what it meant to be a disabled black man, the activist anthems he shared at the first Disability Pride Parade, to beautiful poems for the lovers who came through his life, are collected in this book.
Michael + Josephine: a novel in verse by Jo Reyes-Boitel (Author)
This is one of my favorite newer poetry books. It’s a book of poems telling the love story between St. Michael the Archangel, a queer woman showing up for her work in the world, and Josephine, a Chicana activist. While it doesn’t always reflect disability in the political ways I hope for, the book is poignant, stunningly beautiful and just so real.
Where Clouds Are Formed by our new Ofelia Zepeda (Author)
I first came across Zepeda’s poetry in an art museum, where the poem seemed like a piece on their own. Vivid, clear and poignant, she paints pictures, singing the heartsongs of the desert.
Out There Somewhere by Simon J. Ortiz (Author)
My favorite poems are ones I imagine hearing at a kitchen table in the late evening while the kids are running around outside and the elders have relaxed and gotten comfortable. This book was the first poetry book I ever bought. I picked it up ’cause we have the same last name and I wanted to see what another Ortiz had to say, and found myself lulled by the stories. I find myself going back to it again and again.
Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability by Sheila Black (Editor), Jennifer Bartlett (Editor), Michael Northen (Editor)
This book is one of my favorite poetry anthologies as it incorporates a wide-range of styles and perspectives from disabled poets. I love books that both challenge me and provide haven, and I found that in this anthology.
Naomi Ortiz is a writer, poet, visual artist, facilitator, and the author of Sustaining Spirit: Self-Care for Social Justice (Reclamation), a guide on self-care for diverse communities. She is a Disabled, Mestiza (Latina/ Indigenous/ White), raised in Latinx culture, living in the U.S./Mexico borderlands.