Jessie Denise Huggett, 18 pages
I think this is a beautiful zine, and I was very moved reading it. Jessie Denise Huggett is a dancer and lyricist with Down Syndrome, and she uses her zine to speak in clear and concise language about her experiences. Down Syndrome is poorly understood by most who have not had direct encounters with it; I understand it poorly. But it would be impossible to read Speak and not come out of it reminded of the ongoing struggle for respect and inclusion of those with disabilities and encouraged by the way Huggett has asserted her independence.
As much as I enjoyed reading Huggett’s story, my favourite part of Speak was definitely the drawings interspersed throughout the text. She has a unique way of representing concepts visually; the image above is, I believe, a drawing of Down Syndrome. The cover image, depicting a stick figure girl standing over a box of wavey lines represents speaking. Or check out this one, titled Difference:
The way she grapples with these abstract concepts pictographically is fascinating, and reminds me a little of some of bpNichol’s beautiful, naive ideopoems.
Jessie Denise Huggett is part of Ontario’s only professional mixed ability dance company, Propeller Dance. She has even published at least one poem. Bringing different people together and making them feel included has always been one of our goals with the Ottawa Zine Off, so I wanna thank Jessie for sharing her zine with us, and her friend Rachel for letting her know about it and supporting her efforts (even though Rachel really should have brought a zine of her own too).
JM’s JaM: The Boy Least Likely To – Be Gentle with Me