Monday, April 4, 2016

National Outsider Poetry Month

At Outsider Poetry Magazine we're declaring April National Outsider Poetry Month. For everyone out there creating art or poetry with a disability, pushing that rock uphill against an entrenched academic community that gives no credit to the mentally ill, or self-trained artists who have to work ten times as hard to get any recognition, credit, or money for their work. We say April is now OUR month. 

We salute editors like Dr. Henry Wolfsburg at The Journal of Outsider Poetry and Olivia Suchs at Outsider Poetry and Thomas L. Vaultonburg at Zombie Logic Review who are so receptive to submissions from the mentally ill, and we encourage editors nationwide to be more inclusive in their editorial policies, not only for the self-taught and disabled, but the LGBT community, the elderly, and outsiders from all walks of life who create in non-traditional ways, mediums, and forms.

We're all just trying to add to the human experience by making art that looks like the world we live in, and if the world I live in doesn't look exactly like the world you live in, then great, you now have a chance to step into a new reality and learn another way of looking at things. 

As culture becomes more tolerant and laws begin to reflect the inclusiveness we all hope will come about in our society I take this opportunity to urge the academic community not to be left behind, not to cling to old way, not to stand in the doorways of their ivory towers and not allow access to the waves and waves of genius creators out there working with restrictions and handicaps they can't even imagine. 

Poetry, music, dance, theater, visual art, sculpture, architecture, can only be improved by looking at old ways of doing things with new eyes. Let everyone create and reap the benefits of being an artist and it will begin to be that everyone in society begins to appreciate the creative process as belonging to us all, not just a few initiated few who keep all the glory, recognition, and money to themselves and pass it around in secretive ways. That leads to mistrust and an overall dislike of the artistic community, and a backlash where people otherwise predisposed to support art to turn against it as something a few are using to mock the many.

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