In the introduction to his anthology Staring Back, Kenny Fries notes that “throughout history, people with disabilities have been stared at. Now, here in these pages . . . writers with disabilities affirm our lives by putting the world on notice that we are staring back.” The disabled are objects of the gaze not just in public spaces, but in the pages of literature, in which we often appear as objects of pity, a means of imposing cheap “challenges,” the distorted, the despairing, the to-be-gawked-at. Here in our Tropes of Disability section, four authors—DJ Savarese, Stephen Kuusisto, Jillian Weise (with alter ego Tipsy Tullivan), and Donna Minkowitz—level their gaze back out.
SUSANNE PAOLA ANTONETTA is Editor-in-Chief of Bellingham Review.