Vermont Humanities
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First Wednesdays

Disability and the Poetry of Natural and Supernatural Worlds

Digital Event
April 6, 2022: 7:00 pm

Note: due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this talk will only be offered online, via Zoom. Advance registration is required for this event.

Three poets—Eli Clare, Judy Chalmer, and Toby MacNutt—reflect on the ways disabled poets write about natural and supernatural spaces. In this wide-ranging discussion, they consider how poetry invites us into an embodied experience, and how supernatural poetry can expand or question traditional understandings of the “natural.” With sadness, we note the death of co-presenter, poet, Deborah-Lisi Baker. This talk will include poems read in tribute to Deborah.

This event is hosted by the Norwich Public Library and the Norwich Historical Society.

Register for this free talk

Disability Services

Question mark symbolThis event will feature live, human-generated subtitles and transcripts and an ASL interpreter. To request a specific accommodation, contact us by email at by Monday, March 21. 

Advance access copies of poems are available upon request by contacting Jacob Pelletier at Vermont Humanities strives to provide accommodations whenever possible. All event locations are ADA accessible.

About the Speakers

Judith Chalmer, moderator, is the author of two books of poetry, Out of History’s Junk Jar, and Minnow. In 2017 she retired as Executive Director of Inclusive Arts Vermont (then VSA Vermont). She currently serves as co-chair of the board of Vermont Humanities. Queer and disabled, she lives in Burlington.

White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare lives near Lake Champlain where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written two books of essays, the award-winning Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, and a collection of poetry, The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion.

Deborah Lisi Baker was a long-time disability activist and a poet. Prior to her retirement, she served as the Executive Director at the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) and the Associate Director of the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion. She was active in both the Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights and the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont and advised organizations that want to explore and to understand the role of disability rights in their own mission, culture and operations.

Toby MacNutt is an author, dancer, and teacher in the Burlington area. Their work in both written and performance media frequently draws from their embodied experiences as a queer, nonbinary trans, disabled person. Toby’s sci-fi/fantasy poetry and prose have been published by magazines including Strange Horizons, Liminality, and Capricious, and printed in anthologies such as Disabled People Destroy Fantasy, Transcendent 2, and Accessing the Future. Their debut collection of shape-shifting short stories and poetry, If Not Skin, was published by Aqueduct Press in 2018.


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April 6, 2022
7:00 pm
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Norwich Public Library
368 Main St
Norwich, VT 05055 United States
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Lucinda Walker
(802) 649-1184