Professor Savarese has been on the faculty at Grinnell for 17 years. He is the author of two books, Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption (Other Press 2007), which Newsweek called a "real life love story and an urgent manifesto for the rights of people with neurological disabilities," and See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (forthcoming from Duke University Press in October of 2018). He is also the co-editor of three collections: Papa PhD: Men in the Academy Write about Fatherhood (Rutgers University Press 2010), a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly titled "Autism and the Concept of Neurodiversity" (2010), and a special issue of Seneca Review titled "The Lyrical Body” (2010).
He is the recipient of a number of awards: the Irene Glascock National Undergraduate Poetry Competition (the judges were Seamus Heaney and Grinnell alum Amy Clampitt); the Hennig Cohen Prize from the Herman Melville Society for an “outstanding contribution to Melville scholarship”; an Independent Publisher’s Gold Medal for Reasonable People in the category of health/medicine/nutrition; a Mellon Foundation “Humanities Writ Large” fellowship, which supported a year-long residency at Duke University’s Institute for Brain Sciences; two “notable essay” distinctions in the Best American Essay series; two Pushcart Prize nominations; and a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend.
His scholarship and creative work have appeared, among other places, in American Disasters, American Literature; American Poetry Review; Beloit Poetry Journal; Cream City Review; Disability Studies Quarterly; The Ethics of Neurodiversity; Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family; Foundations of Disability Studies; Fourth Genre; Frontiers of Integrative Neuroscience; Graham House Review; Inflexions; the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies; Keywords in Disability Studies; Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; Modern Poetry in Translation; Narrative; New England Review; the Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies; The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann; Ploughshares; Poetry International; The Poker; Politics & Culture; Prose Studies; Rattle; Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities; Rethinking Empathy through Literature; Secret Sharers: Melville, Conrad, and Narratives of the Real; Segue; Seneca Review; Southern Humanities Review; Southern Poetry Review; Southwest Review; Stone Canoe; and Verse Virtual.
And his opinion pieces have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Austin American Statesman, the Baltimore Sun, the Cincinnati Post, the Dallas Morning News, the Des Moines Register, the Gainesville Sun, the Houston Chronicle, the Huffington Post, the LA Times, the Louisville Courier Journal, and the Tallahassee Democrat.
He can be seen in three documentaries about autism: Loving Lampposts, Living Autistic; Finding Amanda; and Deej. The third is about his son’s inclusion journey. It follows DJ from eighth grade through his first year at Oberlin College, where he was the institution’s first nonspeaking student with autism. The film’s many awards include “Best of Festival” at Superfest, the international disability film festival.
Professor Savarese teaches American literature, disability studies, medical humanities, and creative writing at Grinnell.