By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
When Palisadian Joshua Corwin was putting together his debut memoir poetry collection and selected the launch date of April 20, he most certainly did not expect Safer at Home orders that spanned the state of California to throw a wrench in his book launch plans.
But even as the pandemic kept people at home, the show must go on—and the neurodiverse poet’s book “Becoming Vulnerable” was launched virtually via Zoom.
More than 100 people attended the first-ever Zoom book launch sponsored by The Miracle Project, a “fully inclusive theatre, film and expressive arts program for children, teens and adults with autism and all abilities.”
Miracle Project founder and global leader on neurodiversity Elaine Hall moderated the program and introduced the author, touting the Marquez Knolls resident’s “Becoming Vulnerable” as a “must-have” book. Hall added that Corwin is an incredible voice and teacher.
“You are going to be teaching and helping so many people,” Hall shared.
Corwin chose the date for the launch to honor National Poetry Month and National Autism Awareness Month, as well as aligning it with the cannabis-oriented celebrations that take place on the date, due to his experience with marijuana addiction.
Corwin read poems from his book, starting with “The Update.” He followed by reading his poem “12:01 a.m.”—the second poem he ever published, which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Corwin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a minor in philosophy from Pitzer College in 2019, commenting that he is a different person now than when he wrote the book.
“I realized there was this change that happened in me,” Corwin said during the launch, touching on the fact that he is incredibly grateful.
“Everything you’ve been through is for a purpose so you could be here sharing this with us,” Hall said, noting that Corwin is beyond his years.
After Corwin read poetry, the audience had a chance to ask questions and share their thoughts.
When asked, Corwin shared that two of his favorite pieces in the book are “Gratitude After Breakfast” and “Hello Grandpa”—a hybrid poem. Those poems are only available to people by purchasing the book, he noted.
“Was there something about your grandfather that inspired your work?” an audience member inquired.
Corwin said that his grandfather always wanted him to put out a poetry collection and book. “Don’t ever stop writing” were his grandfather’s final words to Corwin from a hospital bed.
Multiple audience members typed in encouraging messages: “Josh, your sensitivity and willingness to be vulnerable makes you incredibly relatable. I can’t wait for the world to receive the gift of your writing!
” wrote participant Alyce Botwinick.
Another attendee with autism said that by listening to Corwin, he feels seen.
Corwin, who read his poetry with great emotion, spent a few minutes talking about a common misconception that people on the spectrum don’t have emotion, when the contrary is true.
Corwin finished by sharing a few words of advice: “Life is not a straight path, we do have a choice,” Corwin said. “We do have a choice to grow from every single experience. Things aren’t always linear … Enjoy, really. This is a hard lesson I need to remind myself daily, if not more.”
Among those in attendance were Kim Harvey, associate editor of Palette Poetry, and Georgian-American David Dephy. Steve Silberman, author of “NeuroTribes,” also tweeted about the launch.
Corwin will be co-leading The Miracle Project’s brand new program, the AutAdd Poet Society, along with three other instructors, which began on Wednesday, April 22.
This seven-week online poetry course will meet via Zoom through June 3 on Wednesdays from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. All individuals from 18 years old and above—neurotypical or neurodiverse—are welcome to participate.
The day after the book launch, Doug Blecher, founder of Autism Personal Coach, interviewed Corwin. The Autism Stories podcast became available on April 27.
Corwin’s memoir poetry collection, “Becoming Vulnerable,” released by Baxter Daniels Ink Press/International Word Bank, is available on Amazon and at joshuacorwin.com. For more information and Zoom classes go to themiracleproject.org.
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