IN WAY OF MUSIC WATER ANSWERS TOWARD QUESTIONS OTHER THAN WHAT IS AUTISM by Adam Wolfond

It is with great pleasure that we announce the arrival of Adam Wolfond’s first Unrestricted Editions chapbook. Adam’s writing educates as it articulates, invites as it challenges, creates the poetic circumstances in which an ongoing dance can be finally seen. These poems, conveyed in fluid waves of expression, return language to its most dynamic forms, seeking movement at every turn. You can order it from our online store here.

IMG_7407.jpg

Unrestricted Interest @ Edina Library

Please join us at the Edina Library on Saturday at 2pm for a singular event.

Just over two years ago, Unrestricted Interest teaching-writer Chris Martin gave a talk at the Edina Library about the surprising reciprocity between poetry and autism. Two master teachers (Sandi Shetka and Katie Bastiansen) from the South Education Center were there.

Zoom to the present moment and we have served hundreds of students and teachers at SEC while gradually building an unparalleled poetry and songwriting program. Please join us for an afternoon panel where we return to the beginning and explore how community offerings like Edina Reads lead to untold transformations for individuals and institutions. Meghana Junnuru, one of Chris's initial students at SEC, will share her remarkable poetry and her plans for a groundbreaking new autism center.

ASU-Services-pdf.jpg

Saturday, March 2, 2019 (2:00PM – 3:30PM)

at Edina Library 
5280 Grandview Square, Edina, MN 55436 
612-543-6325

Unrestricted Interest Authors to Open Groundbreaking Autism Center

Meghana and Chetan Junurru, authors of the Unrestricted Editions chapbook The Divine Maze, are working hard to open a leading-edge autism center called ASU, which stands for Autism Sibs Universe. Meghana and Chetan believe that those with autism are connected and can best determine their own life path, given the right kind of support and resources. The Mission of the ASU, in their own words, is to create:

An inclusive person-centered program empowered by the ideas of those on the spectrum - a place where they can be fully themselves and at ease. ASU will provide a wide range of recreational and therapeutic activities in partnership with a community of supporters that fully support their evolving dreams and goals.

Please help them bring this vision to life. Donate on their website and see how you can become involved!

ASU-Voices-PNG-HD.png

Chapbook Launch @ South Education Center

Today we celebrate the release of four new Unrestricted Editions chapbooks written by students at the South Education Center. Each chapbook is the product of a groundbreaking mentorship program where students worked with teaching-writer Chris Martin every week for the entire school year. The results are staggering. Ranging from 13 to 20 years old, these young poets developed clear, compelling, and incomparable voices that will change the way you think about poetry and dis/ability. Extra thanks to Mary Austin Speaker, who gave them the design they deserved. 

IMG_4377.JPG

Yearlong Mentorship @ South Education Center

With our fall residency complete (more news on that soon), we now shift into a dedicated mentorship role at SEC, working weekly with seven specially chosen students. These students range in age and ability, but all of them bring a profound thirst for expression and creativity. At year's end, each student will have a professionally designed chapbook of their poems in her hands, a culminating product that honors and emboldens each student's journey. Here is a recent poem by 13-year-old standout Tristin, utilizing the abecedarian form and bursting with Tristin's trademark humor: 

The Insomniac
 

The insomniac wants actual sleep

The insomniac wants basic dreams

The insomniac wants continuity

The insomniac wants denim

The insomniac wants eternal heaven

The insomniac wants a facade

The insomniac wants gratitude

The insomniac doesn’t want your help

The insomniac wants investment

The insomniac wants the board game Jumanji

so he can burn it in the bathtub

The insomniac wants kindness in its purest form

The insomniac wants love

The insomniac wants mastery

The insomniac needs to escape his inner Yandere

The insomniac wants honesty to lose its silent H

The insomniac wants the perception to know

what kind of perception he wants

The insomniac wants questions with answers

The insomniac wants revival

The insomniac wants sanity

The insomniac wants trust

The insomniac wants usefulness

The insomniac wants your credit card verification code

The insomniac wants

The insomniac wants no more x’s

The insomniac knows why

The insomniac wants some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s

Testimonials

We've added a page of testimonials to our website. It is an honor to do the work that we do and these responses are at once humbling and galvanizing. Please join us in making sure more students and more schools can benefit from the work of Unrestricted Interest! Here's an especially touching tribute from one of our very favorite student writers: 

I have severe non-verbal autism.   In my days of extreme loneliness, I met Chris.  I never thought meeting Chris would help open my inner feelings immediately.   I noticed that his calm demeanor was pleasing.  I also noticed that he was very understanding of my limitations, while he was very exploratory of my talents.  He was not only supporting me, I saw him supporting so many others at our school. 

He made an immense impact on my life.  I sincerely wish I met him sooner.  I improved my sad moods thinking about poetry after meeting Chris.  I hoped he would see me more often.   

Life without expression was difficult until poetry gave me a voice.   Meaningful literature has deep impacts on me.   Poetry has even deeper impact.   Poetry is a love song to my heart.   It resonates at levels that regular words cannot reach.

My writing does not sound autistic, but unfortunately, I cannot function in life without assistance.  I need something to lift up my spirits and poetry with Chris does that for me.  Treating my limitations with respect and helping me learn to express myself, is Chris’s strength. 

Meghana Junnuru, poetry lover and non-verbal autist from South Education Center. 

IMG_1981.JPG

Introducing...Ghostly Poems!

The newest Unrestricted Editions chapbook, brought to you from the master of all things spooky, student-writer Wells Denison. As Wells says: read at your own risk. Scroll down for an excerpt.

Wells and Ghostly Poems.JPG

Thirteen Ways to Look Like a Ghost

1.
Apply gray, black, and white makeup.

2.
Dress up in a ghost costume.
Find a piece of clothing
that looks old and tattered.
Then distress it more.

3.
Then put on all the accessories
you like: gloves, hat, masks, etc.
You could even put on black shoes.
Black as night.

4.
A ghost can possess you.

5.
If I was a ghost
I would make everything
float.

6.
Ghosts never fart.

7.
Ghosts sleep in their dead bodies
in their coffins all day long.

8.
I guess a ghost could haunt
a person who is faint of heart.

9.
A ghost scares people
instead of being bored
by living forever.

10.
The creepiest thing
about a haunted scarecrow
is that he has no eyes.

11.

When a ghost hides
inside a vase
and dumps the water out
on your head
it makes you jump
and run away.

12.
Ghosts
cry
blood.

13.
The ghost of Llewellyn Dennison
comes out of its dead body
in Lexington, Massachusetts
on Halloween
and parties from 11am
until one o’clock.

Co-Founder Chris Martin Interviewed by Wordgathering

We are excited to announce a new interview with co-founder Chris Martin in Wordgathering, an excellent journal of disability poetry and literature. Here's a snippet from the larger exchange: 

Poetry is patterned language. Autism is characterized by patterned thought. All the so-called deficits of autism turn out to be strengths in the realm of poetry, which is inherently perseverative. Shaping my approach to poetry so as to ideally foster expression in students and adults on the spectrum has allowed me to rediscover how necessary, fundamental, and ethical the practice of poetry can be. And writers with autism constantly illuminate corners of language (and structures of language) that I'd never been able to see before. It's deeply reciprocal.

Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 10.41.09 AM.png

Unrestricted Interest Is Back at the South Education Center

Unrestricted Interest teaching-writer Chris Martin is back at SEC, embarking on a yearlong set of programs that include two residencies, a mentorship track, and several inservice pedagogy workshops open to all teachers and administrators in District 287. 

The Fall residency is underway and Martin is visiting five different classrooms every Wednesday and Friday. He has also started work with five specially chosen mentorship student-writers, who he will work with every Monday for the whole year! We will keep you updated on all the amazing work that bursts forth.

SEC Pic.jpg

Unrestricted Interest @ The Art of Autism

Congratulations to Unrestricted Interest student-writer Meghana Junnuru, whose soulful poem "May" was published on The Art of Autism as part of their "Poems and Art for Peace" series! Her poem demonstrates not only the potential for literary talent among non-speaking writers, but ways in which autism opens the world up to untold dimensions of experience. You can click the link here to read it!

Page-2-Image-9-690x555.png

Potential Unlocked! @ The Target Performance Hall

Join Unrestricted Interest and the Center for Engaging Autism at the Open Book's Target Performance Hall to celebrate the launch of a new chapbook: Unlocking Potential. The poems and songs in this chapbook were all composed during our summer workshop and student-writers will be joined on stage by Coffee House Press: In the Stacks poets Steve Healey and Sagirah Shahid. This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and facilitated by Milkweed Books. RSVP here!

Saturday, September 15 from 4-6pm

Saturday, September 15 from 4-6pm

Unrestricted Interest + CEA + CHP @ Arete Academy = Poetry & Autism Camp

The week of August 7-11, Unrestricted Interest will be teaming with the Center for Engaging Autism and Coffee House Press to present a poetry and autism camp for both educators and students at the Arete Academy of Exceptional Education. Registration fees for both educators and students are incredibly affordable, thanks to a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.  

Educators will gather for pedagogy workshops from 1:30-3:30pm each day. These workshops will offer insights into the surprising reciprocity between autism and poetry while giving educators practical tools to harness the power of poetry and song in their classrooms. We will show you how poetic forms can be crafted to respond directly to a student's passions and perseverations. There will be an opportunity for educators to get hands-on experience afterwards with student-writers. Learn more and register here.

Students will gather for poetry presentations and writing workshops from 3:00-5:00pm each day. At the beginning of each session a brilliant local poet, sponsored by Coffee House Press, will briefly present her work. The workshops that follow will be specifically tailored for writers on the spectrum, engaging them with poetic forms that fit their unique interests to facilitate expression. They will also engage in songwriting, the most pleasurable and perseverative poem form of all! Learn more and register here. 

Please spread the word far and wide! This is truly a one-of-a-kind offering.