Introducing our Editors-at-Large and the Multiverse series

Daniel Slager — 04/09/2021

We are excited to welcome three Editors-at-Large to Milkweed Editions, and along with one of these editors, a new literary series.


Over the years, I have often asked writers we are publishing to recommend other writers and manuscripts. Countless new relationships and projects have come to us as a result, and so when I thought of ways to expand the range of curatorial and editorial perspectives at work in building our publishing program, the notion of adding Editors-at-Large struck me as a natural outgrowth – a formalization, perhaps more precisely – of this practice. These three individuals bring wonderfully various gifts and sensibilities. I am profoundly grateful to them for agreeing to work with us, and very excited to see what they bring to our list.

Fady Joudah is among the most original and accomplished poets in America today. Also a brilliant translator, Fady brings to this role an uncommon generosity of spirit, a luminous intelligence, and rich relationships extending far beyond the national poetry scene.

Helen Whybrow is among the most thoughtful and skilled developmental editors I’ve worked with. She is also keenly attuned to the burgeoning field of ecological literature, and in this role she will be both opening doors and expanding our longstanding commitment to working with writers to develop projects into books.  

Chris Martin, too, is a wonderful poet, and I’ve admired his artistry for years. When Chris proposed a series of collections by neurodivergent poets, and showed me some of the work he thought ready for publication, my understanding of the meaning of “transformative literature” was enlarged dramatically.


Fady Joudah is an Editor-at-Large for Milkweed Editions. He has published five collections of poems: The Earth in the Attic; Alight; Textu; a book-long sequence of short poems whose meter is based on cellphone character count; Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance; and, most recently, Tethered to Stars. He has translated several collections of poetry from the Arabic and is the co-editor and co-founder of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. He was a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2007 and has received a PEN award, a Banipal/Times Literary Supplement prize from the UK, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Houston, with his wife and kids, where he practices internal medicine.

Helen Whybrow is an Editor-at-Large for Milkweed Editions. She was the publisher of an imprint of W. W. Norton for many years before becoming a freelance editor and Editor-at-Large for Orion Magazine. With a focus on creative nonfiction, Helen has worked with dozens of well-known writers over the years, including Barry Lopez, Lauret Savoy, Robin Kimmerer, Pico Iyer, Andrew Lam, and many others. She has authored two books, Dead Reckoning (W. W. Norton, 2001) and A Man Apart (Chelsea Green, 2015) and edited several anthologies, including Hearth (Milkweed, 2019). Her essays have appeared in Cagibi, Hunger Mountain and other literary journals. Helen studied literature at Amherst College and journalism at Harvard. Also an organic farmer and co-founder of a nonprofit that nurtures leaders working for land justice, she lives with her family in Vermont.

Chris Martin is an Editor-at-Large for Milkweed Editions, where he curates the Multiverse series. He is a neurodivergent poet, educator, and editor whose fourth book of poems, Things to Do in Hell, was published by Coffee House Press in 2020. His first book of essays, May Tomorrow Be Awake: On Poetry, Autism, and Our Neurodiverse Future is forthcoming from HarperOne. He is the recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation, the NEA, and the Minnesota Humanities Center. He is the co-founder and executive director of Unrestricted Interest, an organization dedicated to helping neurodivergent learners transform their lives through writing. He lives in Minneapolis, where he also teaches at Hamline University and Carleton College.


Multiverse is a literary series devoted to different ways of languaging, curated by Chris Martin, a neurodivergent poet and the co-founder and executive director of Unrestricted Interest, an organization dedicated to helping neurodivergent learners transform their lives through writing. Multiverse primarily emerges from the practices and creativity of neurodivergent, autistic, neuroqueer, and disabled cultures. The hope 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.

“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. I myself have been enormously changed, as a poet and person, by the process of reading them.”
CHRIS MARTIN, Editor-at-Large, Multiverse series


The first title in the Multiverse series will be The Kissing of Kissing by Hannah Emerson.The Kissing of Kissing will be published in the Spring of 2022.

Hannah Emerson is a nonspeaking autistic artist and poet whose work has graced BOMB Magazine, Poetry Society of America, LitHub, The Brooklyn Rail, and her own newsletter The Kissing Nothing We Become. Her chapbook, You Are Helping This Great Universe Explode, was published by Unrestricted Editions in 2020.

In this remarkable debut, Hannah Emerson’s poems keep, dream, bring, please, grownd, sing, kiss, and listen. She moves with and within the beautiful nothing (“of buzzing light”) from which, as she elaborates, everything jumps. In language that is both bracingly new and embracingly intimate, Emerson invites us to “dive down to the beautiful muck that helps you get that the world was made from the garbage at the bottom of the universe that was boiling over with joy that wanted to become you you you yes yes yes.” These poems are encounters – animal, vegetal, elemental – that form the markings of an irresistible future. And what The Kissing of Kissing makes joyously clear is that this future, which can sometimes seem light years away, is as close, as near, as each immersive now. It finds breath in the words and worlds we share, together “becoming burst becoming / the waking dream.” In this book, Emerson, a nonspeaking autistic poet, generously invites you, the reader, to meet yourself anew, again, “to bring your beautiful nothing” into the light.

Daniel Slager

Daniel Slager is the publisher & CEO of Milkweed Editions. A widely published translator from the German, Slager also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Ledig House International Writers’ Colony, Motionpoems, and Open Book, as well as on the Advisory Board for Archipelago Books, an independent publishing house in New York.