Headshot of Chris Martin and Imane Boukaila

Chris Martin and Imane Boukaila: On Poetry, Autism and Our Neurodivergent Future

Thursday, March 21, 2024
Event Time 01:00 p.m. - 02:30 p.m. PT
Cost Free and open to the public
Location The Poetry Center, Humanities 512, SF State
Contact Email poetry@sfsu.edu


Please join us for this very exciting program, co-presented with our friends at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State. Poet and educator Chris Martin is visiting from Minneapolis, from where he's been realizing his deep dream of teaching poetry to autistic youth. That work has resulted in a series of new books of remarkable poetry, in Milkweed's Multiverse series, edited by Martin. Young poet Imane Boukalia joins us from her home in Toronto, Ontario, to help us welcome her debut book of poetry into the world. 

    Imane Boukaila is the author of Tressing Motions at the Edge of Mistakes and a moving nomad thinker, daring to tress hope in tormented voids. She is a nonspeaking autistic poet and the co-founder of Hear Our Minds, an art movement motioning autistic revolution. She lives in Toronto. The newest book in the Multiverse series, Tressing Motions at the Edge of Mistakes, her debut collection of poetry, is activated by sampling, troubling, and trespassing.

    “Boukaila makes kinesthetic what is static, and makes static what moves too quickly for us to attend.”
    —Divya Victor

    This is a book of what its teenage nonspeaking autistic author calls “tacit treasures.” Where manifestos encounter poems and raps encounter essays, the lyric constellations that mark this debut sing in opposition to those “troubled-abled” who would coerce and control disabled lives. Boukaila offers another way: her “LOL tressed philosophy,” her truth. This liberatory philosophy exists at the periphery, thresholding, in all the places where life opens toward neurodivergent revolution.

    Chris Martin is this very moment endeavoring to become himself, a somemany and tilted thinking animal who sways, hags, loves, trees, lights, listens, and arrives. He is a poet who teaches and learns in mutual measure, as the connective hub of Unrestricted Interest and the curator of Multiverse, a series of neurodivergent writing from Milkweed Editions. His most recent book of poems is Things to Do in Hell (Coffee House, 2020) and his first book of nonfiction is May Tomorrow Be Awake: On Poetry, Autism, and Our Neurodiverse Future (HarperOne, 2022). He lives on the edge of Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis, among the mulberries and burr oaks, with Mary Austin Speaker and their two bewildering creatures. 


    Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Please register to attend, either online or in person.

    • The Poetry Center reading room is located on the fifth floor of the Humanities Building at SF State, and is wheelchair accessible.
    • ASL/CART provided; for other access needs contact: Emily Beitiks at beitiks@sfsu.edu
    • VIDEO for this program will be posted after editing at Poetry Center Digital Archive.

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