Connective Tissue: A Project

Update, August 2017 – In the three years since I wrote the post below, I have continued to work hard on this manuscript with the generous support of individual backers, grants, fellowships, residencies, and an MFA program at the University of Minnesota. The book has taken much longer to complete than I expected when I wrote these words in 2014, but I am very proud of what it has become and look forward to bringing it fully into the world soon. The project’s form and structure have changed significantly, as have the title and many of the manuscript’s components, but the heart of the book remains the same. I am leaving this post up to trace the evolution of my vision and to make one thing very clear: my work would not be possible without the emotional, creative, and tangible support of my community. Thank you. 

* * * 

I hope to recreate in language what my body lacks in material.

I am a poet and essayist whose work explores illness, disability, the body, the natural world, and the complex web of relationships of which we are all a part. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder that affects the body’s collagen, which means that I have less glue holding my joints, muscles, and other tissues together than others do.

I am currently working on my first book of poems and lyric essays, Connective Tissue, which found its roots shortly after I was diagnosed with EDS. In the book, I hope to recreate in language what my body lacks in material by weaving together personal narrative with scientific research, observations of the natural world, and elements of place.

The book’s structure and the form of the poems and essays within it are derived from the structure of the human skeleton; each of the 206 bones in the skeleton is represented by a poem/essay or part of a poem/essay. For example, in “Power,” the poem that represents the fingers of the left hand, each phalanx and metacarpal is represented by a stanza, and each individual finger by a numbered section.

After two years of research and writing, two writer’s residencies, two crowdfunding campaigns, and ongoing support from my community, I have honed my vision for the project and drafted a quarter of the book’s poems. Thanks to the support of 63 Indiegogo funders who helped me raise nearly $2,300 in June 2014, I will spend five weeks working intensively on Connective Tissue in July and August of this year.

In honor of my relationship with EDS, I donated 10% of all funds raised by my Indiegogo campaign to the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation (ENDF) for continued care and research for individuals affected by EDS.

Thank you

This book would not be possible without the support, encouragement, and opportunities I’ve received from my creative community near and far. I would like to acknowledge the folks who have contributed to my crowdfunding campaigns and provided me with the time, space, and resources needed to write. I couldn’t do this without you.

Individual Supporters (2013-14)
Nannette and Antonio Alarcon
Mark Albright
Susan Alden
Nancy and Barry Allen
Peter Allen
Francisco Aragon
Jackie Ariail
Sabri & Andrew Barco
Susan Barco
Jenny Beck
Brian Belz
Linda Bryant
Kathy Casey
Lydia Chrisman
Aubrie Cox
Dana D’Amico
Luis Del Rio
Lori Desrosiers
Hannah Dibner
grey doolin
Jesselyn Dreeszen-Bowman
Jackson Emmer
Melenie Flynn
Megan Gette
Jane Griswold
Roy Guzman
Thijs Haitjema and Emily O’Brien
Della Haugen
Emily Helck
Artis Henderson
Sam Hsieh
Su Hwang
Victor Hernandez and Joe Peterangelo
Hope Holiner and Michael Wolkowitz
Sabra Katz-Wise
Paul Kelleher
Isaac Kirkman
kiki kosnick
Simone LaPierre
Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Ann McCall
Anne McKinney
Nadine McLeod
Morgan Meyer and Jordan Schuster
Susan Michet
Joslyn Mink
Amanda Nazarian
Grady O’Neil
Helen Rose Patterson
Emma Peterson
Sarah Pike
Sara Jayne Poletti
Marisa Prefer & Callen
Marcelle Richards
Matthew Rickart
Kate Ritter
Sonya Taylor
Alexander Thompson
Niko Tsocanos
Sara Wasmund-Stabbe
Alex Weiser
Admiral Stacie Wieland
Emma Wood
Joni Yoder

…and a number of wonderful others who wish to remain anonymous.

Residencies and Grants (2013-14)
The Atlantic Center for the Arts
The Pabst Cultural Foundation
The Spring Creek Project of Oregon State University at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest


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