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Friday, June 21, 2013

A story and a call for poems--

Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength. --Christopher Reeves

An image from the in-progress Kickstarter film

Long, long ago I was a teacher. One of my students was Gary Dietz, young and lively--I remember he backpacked around Japan in that long ago and came back to us with wonderful stories of the people, encounters on the street and in noodle shops. He's still lively, and has been on a great, demanding adventure since then, for in 1999 his son Alexander was born with an extremely rare "interstitial deletion of the lower arm of chromosome 13." A single dad for most of his life with Alexander, Gary found few helpful accounts of how to father children with disabilities, and now he is working on a blog and a book of essays by or about fathers with disabled children.

As part of his work for the book, Gary Dietz is calling for submissions of poems--a poetry contest. A minimum of four winning poems will appear in his Dads of Disability book, now in progress. Read guidelines and about compensation here.
What must the poem be about? The poem must be about, evoke, or directly evidence a theme about disability from the perspective of or a topic surrounding a father of a child (a young child or adult child or deceased child) who experienced some type — any type — of disability. The disability could have been physical, developmental, genetic, acquired, or learning. The topic could even be about some issues that some communities don’t consider a disability, such as being a Deaf person or having Autism (or being Autistic as some prefer). The poem can be by a male or female or straight or gay author as long as its main theme or themes concern a father of a child with a disability.
Alexander as a baby
Many of us in the arts have raised or are raising a child who presents special challenges because of some genetic inheritance or later accident; some have written about these demands in poems. Many parents with a disabled child wouldn't call themselves poets, yet commit the occasional poem. I am pleased to support Gary's project by reading and choosing poems for his upcoming book, and I hope that you will send a poem if you have something that fits the guidelines. If not, maybe the content will inspire you to write a new one. You don't have to be the father of a disabled child to do so--take a look at those guidelines!

And please consider making a donation when his Kickstarter fundraiser goes live. Many projects are called worthy. This one is--not only worthy but one that fills a need.

Take a look at Gary Dietz's Dads of Disability website here. (And yes, there will be a chance to submit essays as well.)
  • Gary Dietz twitter feed @garymdietz 
  • Gary Dietz facebook page (most posts public)


  1. Marly,

    Thanks for the wonderful mention. And mostly thanks for agreeing to judge!

    So folks know, there are essay opportunities as well. See the site for details.

    By the way, that picture of my son was the day after we learned his diagnosis. Can't believe he is going to be 14 soon!

    Best to all,


  2. I added a line about essays--and have mentioned that to various people on fb as well.

    Gary, I am thinking you may get a lot of submissions. Posted and ran off to get my hair cut, and when I got back there were already 65 post views and 11 fb shares.

    14. So big.

  3. It's a great project...wish you success with it.


  4. Pat, sorry you went to Spam Land! Enjoyed your longer comment on fb very much...

  5. Marly,
    I think all the posts I've made lately here have gone there, to Spamland! I have a poem for you for this project.
    I'm not sure it will work because it is about MY son's disabilities, which I am sure are quite different from Gary's son's.

  6. Maybe you left out a step--I do look at Spam Land every few days...

    Look at the directions again; that does not matter. The book and web site are for fathers with a disabled child and for their families and friends.

    Thanks for submitting, Robbi!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.