Announcing Multiverse and Hannah Emerson’s The Kissing of Kissing
Announcing Multiverse and Hannah Emerson’s The Kissing of Kissing
We are excited and humbled to announce a new literary series, Multiverse, and the first book in the series, Hannah Emerson’s The Kissing of Kissing, out April 2022.
Multiverse is a literary series devoted to different ways of languaging, curated by neurodivergent poet Chris Martin, and featuring a chorus of editorial voices. Multiverse primarily emerges from the practices and creativity of neurodivergent, autistic, neuroqueer, mad, nonspeaking, and disabled cultures. The desire of Multiverse is to serially surface multiple universes of underheard language that might intersect, resonate, and aggregate toward liberatory futures. In other words, each book in the Multiverse series gestures toward a correspondence—human and more-than-human—that lovingly exceeds what is normal and normative in our society, questioning and augmenting what literary culture is, has been, and can be.
Praise for Multiverse:
“When neurodivergent poets eschew the conventions of neuronormative writing and instead take the liberty of creating whatever neuroqueer languagings most effectively express their own lived realities, their words can act upon the reader like mind-expanding drugs. By providing a venue for such work, Multiverse is in the business not merely of publishing books, but also of unveiling hidden potentials of human consciousness.”––Nick Walker, neurodiversity scholar, co-founder of Autonomous Press, psychology professor at California Institute of Integral Studies
“Just as literature can expand possibilities for being and knowing, neurodivergent writers with unique experiences of being and knowing can expand the possibilities of literature. In its attunement to many ways of languaging, Multiverse is poised to transform the literary landscape for everyone, opening the way for multitudinous paths toward creation, expression, relation, understanding, meaning-making—and ultimately, living.” —Lauren Russell, Director of the RCAH Center for Poetry at Michigan State University and author of Descent (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2020), winner of the Anna Rabinowitz Prize
“Queer poet Allen Ginsberg once wrote, ‘The message is: Widen the area of consciousness.’ The ambitious mission of Milkweed’s Multiverse series is to do precisely that by highlighting not just new and innovative kinds of writing, but ways of being in the world that have traditionally been exiled to the margins of human experience by the gatekeepers of the canon. To immerse yourself in the lively, passionate, fresh and always surprising voices of Multiverse is to restore your faith in the redemptive potential of language itself.”—Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
From Chris Martin, Editor-at-Large, Multiverse:
"Although there have been plenty of books (and yet not nearly enough) published by neurodivergent writers, there has never been a series at a major press dedicated to the endeavor. One of the things that excites me so much about Multiverse is the opportunity for readers to see how diverse neurodiversity really is. Our first two books are both written by nonspeaking autistic poets, but their work is ecstatically different. Each new title that comes out under the Multiverse imprint will further elaborate this proliferation of difference within difference, opening new worlds of language that will instantly transform the way readers think about poetry, voice, neurodivergence, and even themselves. Having worked with neurodivergent writers for over 20 years, I can say that I myself have been enormously changed, as a poet and person, in the process. It no longer surprises me when someone who sought me out as a teacher, like Hannah Emerson, becomes a peer, a dear friend, and an incomparable mentor."
An Interview with Chris Martin:
What is "neurodiversity?" Much has been written on the topic, but it's often mistaken as a synonym for autism.
Chris Martin: Neurodiversity is a fundamental expression—eager and exuberant—of all human and more-than-human life. It describes the vast range of body-minds that connect any collection of living beings. The neurodiversity movement proposes that every manner of minding is necessary and that our collective, complementary ways of moving through the world aggregate toward communal forms of care, artfulness, and creative thriving. The definitions of these terms differ from person to person and over time, so I simply offer these as mine for this particular moment.
What conversations is the Multiverse series hoping to spur?
CM: As many as possible. Conversations that are as yet unthinkable. Different ways of moving through the world give rise to different possibilities for language. The first two authors in the Multiverse series, Hannah Emerson and Adam Wolfond, are both nonspeaking autistic artists, but they move through the world, and through language, in crucially distinctive ways, each offering their own universe of languaging. I want to hear the conversations that happen when these universes, using the wormholes we call books, touch one another.
What can the public hope to glean from the world of neurodivergent poets and writers as you set out on this publishing journey?
CM: These writers and their writing offer a phenomenal range of permissions to both writers and readers, but also to anyone looking to explore liberatory frameworks. In engaging with this work, readers will find themselves better equipped to perceive what Wolfond calls "the wanting way," a desire line that begins where you are and moves across difference to create new possibilities of togetherness, to cultivate what Robin Wall Kimmerer calls "mutual flourishing." It is writing that will "re-mind" you of who you are and of the wild, thriving breadth that human experience really is.
HANNAH EMERSON’S THE KISSING OF KISSING
We are thrilled to announce the first title in the Multiverse series, a collection of poems by nonspeaking autistic poet Hannah Emerson that will be released in April 2022.
The power of Emerson's poetry is born of intimacy—her poems plead for her reader to join her in naming the very fabric of being alive, and in this visionary act of seeing life’s interwoven connectedness, she is profoundly celebratory. The Kissing of Kissing is liberatory, generous, and insistent. It finds breath in the woods and the words and the worlds we share, together “becoming burst becoming / the waking dream.”
Emerson's poems carry language beyond itself, devoting themselves to the in-between spaces where we find belonging—with each other, with the world, with our freest and most joyful selves. Readers of Rupi Kaur will appreciate her direct appeal to feeling, and those who love Mary Oliver will admire the way Emerson encourages her reader to connect to their most purposeful self and live awake to the world around them.
If you are a reviewer, editor, or bookseller interested in seeing a galley of The Kissing of Kissing, please contact Multiverse publicity consultant Jenara Nerenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can preorder the collection now through Emerson’s favorite independent bookstore, Buffalo Street Books.
About Hannah Emerson:
Hannah Emerson is a nonspeaking autistic artist and poet whose work has graced Bomb Magazine, Poetry Society of America, LitHub, and The Brooklyn Rail. Her chapbook, You Are Helping This Great Universe Explode, was published by Unrestricted Editions in 2020. You can learn more about Emerson here and sign up for her Substack here.