Submit your poem to Knee Brace Press! We welcome new voices and veteran poets alike.
All submissions must relate to chronic illness, disability, mental health and/or neurodivergence in some way. What that means is pretty much up to you. If you think your piece covers any of these topics, send it out way!
Fishbowl is a poem about feeling alone, even when the speaker is surrounded by people. Read the poem here.
“And yet sometimes, I feel cold./There’s a deep void in my chest/No matter how much I try, it remains bare.” In this poem, AM Rodriguez details what it’s like to struggle with depression and grief, even when the rest of the world appears full of light. Read the poem here.
I haven’t been sleeping well
“I remember what I told myself I’d eat for breakfast the day before/And then remember it’s still sitting right where I left it/Next to my unfinished coffee and my empty day planner.” Poet Emily Brandt details what it’s like to be in the middle of a depressive episode, when sleep alludes even the most exhausted mind. Read the poem here.
In her poem Vertigo, author and poet Amba Elieff captures the dizzying horror that is having your world flipped upside-down mid step and what it means to push through it like nothing happened. Read the poem here.
If a loved one infringed on one of your most private moments for their own curiosity, how would you respond? That’s what author and poet Mugabi Byenkya writes about in their poem, Seizure #774, which takes place during a seizure. Read more here.
“I think about ghosts and love./I think about haunted houses and empty spaces.” So begins AM Rodriguez’s ethereal poem, Ghosts, about the grief that haunts us, the longing we can’t escape, and a morbid curiosity the speaker can’t shake. Read Ghosts here.
Grief is a funny thing. It can be heart wrenching, devastating, or even performative. Jess Bareslow’s poem, free., details how hyperaware they were of how they needed to act after their father’s death. Read free. here.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that nearly ninety-six percent of chronic medical conditions can be considered “invisible illnesses.” Poet Amba Elieff details her own experiences with chronic illness via one small tattoo. Read Spoon Tattoo here.
Notes From A 10 a.m. Appointment
In which our protagonist enters the Zoom room for a psych evaluation, eager and nervous to uncover the next phase of her healing journey. Poet and author Clara Olivo details what happens when nothing goes as planned. Read Notes From A 10 a.m. Appointment here.
Ode to Chronic Illness
“Music is my liberation/the medicine to my soul/the bridge between two realms in which/I coexist.” Poet and author Clara Olivo is back with a poem about music, chronic pain, and resilience. Read Ode to Chronic Illness here.
Does your anxiety stick to you, like glitter or sand? In their new poem, Staying Sparkly, Sojourner “Hughes” Davidson details their relationship with anxiety and how closely it adheres to their skin, however often they try to wash it away. Read Staying Sparkly here.
Try to Understand
So often, neurodivergent folks have to mask who they are in order to fit in. In her poem Try to Understand, poet and author Clara Olivo touches on how she hid her inner self in order to appear neurotypical, to the point she began to believe it was necessary. Read Try to Understand here.
At twenty years old, Julián Esteban Torres López wrote Neurodivergent, a piece about how his ADHD, aphantasia, autism, and OCD intersect in his own mind. Torres López is the founder of The Nasiona, a movement and non-profit that advocates for and centers personal stories of historically marginalized voices. Listen to and read Neurodivergent here.
As a stage IV cancer patient, Pacific Northwestern poet Lara Haynes Freed learned of a new metastasis. Her poem Resection chronicles her experience with her diagnosis. Freed holds an MA in linguistics from the University of Kansas and has been published in multiple literary magazines. Read the poem here.
Sojourner “Hughes” Davidson’s poem, Ache Awake, deals with the speaker’s chronic pain, migraines, and insomnia. A DMV-based poet writing about the mind and the body, Davidson has previously published two poems in the Guilford College lit mag, The Greenleaf Review. Read the poem here.