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 @ SEC

Our pilot program at the South Education Center is complete and we have the poems to prove it! SEC generously produced a bound anthology, The Line: From the Poets of South Education Center, to help us memorialize and celebrate this amazing experience. Below are a few examples from the anthology, which we launched last Friday at an event marked by nearly a dozen student readings. We couldn't be more proud of this publication or more grateful for all the help we received from SEC educators and administration, especially Literacy Specialist Cathy Pinkosky. 


Unrestricted Interest + AuSM @ Open Book

Unrestricted Interest began its first autism and poetry workshop at the Open Book this week, courtesy of AuSM (the Autism Society of Minnesota) and sponsor Milkweed Books! One highlight from the first class was a collaborative double acrostic. It's challenging form, but how else can you celebrate the confluence of National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month by spelling out AUTISM down the left margin and POETRY down the right? 

Unrestricted Interest @ the Southern Poverty Law Center

Check out Unrestricted Interest teaching-writer Chris Martin's first blog post for Teaching Tolerance, an anti-bias blog from the Southern Poverty Law Center. His post dispels some popular misconceptions about the potential of people with autism and illustrates new research on the reciprocity between autism and poetry. This is a call to radically rethink our approach and our assumptions:

Let’s give people with autism more opportunities to demonstrate what they feel, what they imagine, what comes naturally to them through humor and the language of sensory experience. As we learn more about autism, let’s not forget to learn from those with autism. There are poets walking among you and they have much to teach.

Unrestricted Interest @ Carleton College

Unrestricted Interest teaching-writer Chris Martin will present on the surprising reciprocity between poetry and autism at Carleton College's annual faculty retreat in early September. He will talk about several new developments linking poetry to autism and vice-versa, including: 

  • Recent studies linking right hemisphere dominance with an affinity for metaphor
  • How Intense World Theory may find its ideal context within the constraints of a poem
  • The gift of linguistic materiality prevalent in students with autism
  • How poets and people with autism share an affinity for vertical thinking and generative perseveration