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POETRYETC  September 2008

POETRYETC September 2008

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Subject:

Re: poetry and asperger's

From:

Max Richards <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc: poetry and poetics

Date:

Fri, 19 Sep 2008 10:28:07 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Thanks, Sally, for spelling this out so well.

- 'not disabilities but differences', especially.

Max

Quoting Sally Evans <[log in to unmask]>:

> My husband has aspergers. It is about formidable intellect, yes, and about
> not seeing the social world quite the way everyone else sees it. And
> sometimes, frustration leading to stuff like suicide, panic and making
> enemies of less intelligent people who do not realise what is going on.
> It is great fun looking back and saying, yes Einstein had  aspergers, maybe
> Wordsworth did, maybe the Sitwells' father did, etc but I dont think it gets
> us anywhere. Many writers and artists have aspergers or  related "spectrum"
> characteristics - high language ability for instance - and many adult
> aspergers people are undiagnosed.  Aspergers and autism are modern
> complaints (they are not disabilities but differences, and the complaining
> comes from the bystanders) that show up in our modern kind of social
> interaction. In the past they would have been hidden as despotism, or
> scapegoating,  or even bad temper, depending on the social position of the
> person concerned.
> 
> I think it was a good thing Les Murray announced he had aspergers, because
> it shows it is an enabler and not a disabler, which it can seem to be in
> normal life at close quarters. I doubt that schoolkids with aspergers are
> getting a better deal than formerly, as they are labelled incapable of
> getting on with their lives. its usually the people around them that are the
> problem.
> Sorry if this seems slightly off discussion but its an important subject
> that needs thinking about.
> 
> 
> Sally Evans
> http://www.poetryscotland.co.uk
> http://groups.msn.com/desktopsallye
> http://www.myspace.com/poetsallyevans
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Judy Prince" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:59 AM
> Subject: Re: poetry and asperger's
> 
> 
> > Tell your wife she should be referring you to the words "precocious",
> > "formidably intellectual", "generous-to-a-fault", and "ready for the
> > beach".
> > [She may need and enjoy a holiday from therapising other folks' speech]
> >
> > Judy
> >
> > 2008/9/17 Max Richards <[log in to unmask]>
> >
> >> Yes, Jim, I run the risk of sounding offensive.
> >>
> >> It relates to my wife the speech therapist saying I show aspy symptoms,
> >> and
> >> that
> >> it explains the twodimensionality of what I write; and her disappointment
> >> generally in contemporary poetry.
> >>
> >> Casting round I see Mark Haddon, whose novel I have yet to read about an
> >> aspy
> >> boy, saying in an interview
> >>
> >>
> >>
> 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/sep/24/poetry.booksforchildrenandteenagers
> >>
> >> how his own poetry has been helped by reading Ashbery:
> >>
> >> Haddon's Swindon-based detective story
> >> [The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time],
> >> narrated by 15-year-old, low-spectrum Asperger's sufferer Christopher
> >> Boone,
> >> whose literal interpretation of the world around him lent the book such a
> >> distinctive voice, should have given the writer such confidence. In the
> >> first
> >> three months of publication it sold more than a million copies and went
> >> on
> >> to
> >> win a hatful of prizes, including the Whitbread book of the year. "When I
> >> finished it I knew it had worked," he says. "But I also thought it was a
> >> very
> >> dark book which might have put people off. However, I've now been told so
> >> many
> >> times by readers that it is a hugely uplifting story that I've come to
> >> accept
> >> it. I think a lot of that comes from the last line in the book - 'I can
> >> do
> >> anything'. That always struck me as profoundly ambiguous. Is he deceiving
> >> himself? Or is he on his way to a sparkling career at university? One of
> >> the
> >> ways the book works is because it is so spare, people write at least half
> >> of it
> >> themselves. And if they've decided it is to be a happy book, that's how
> >> they
> >> will read the last line."
> >>
> >> Although the book has almost universally been garlanded with praise and
> >> prizes,
> >> Haddon has received some complaints, some from Asperger's sufferers,
> >> essentially
> >> questioning his right to write about them. "But I've also had letters
> >> from
> >> people with Asperger's saying they have shown the book to their families
> >> and
> >> friends to explain how they feel, which is obviously been very gratifying
> >> even
> >> though I didn't set out to write about Asperger's in those terms."
> >> Of contemporary poets he cites John Ashbery as a liberating influence:
> >> "He
> >> offers people the chance to not make sense in the normal way. One of the
> >> things
> >> that stimulates me to write poetry is stumbling on bits of language that
> >> are
> >> unlike normal language." But his favourite contemporary poets are Don
> >> Paterson -
> >> his editor at Picador - and Paul Farley. "Don's poetry is muscular and
> >> intelligent and has an accessible surface but very many layers
> >> underneath,"
> >> he
> >> says. "Paul Farley is really resonant without being at all flashy. There
> >> are
> >> strong ideas threaded through it and lines that go into your head that
> >> you
> >> know
> >> will stick with you for a really, really long time. But I also think if
> >> you
> >> can
> >> pinpoint what you admire in someone's poetry then what you are looking at
> >> is
> >> something simple and shallow. I like poetry when I don't quite understand
> >> why I
> >> like it. Poetry isn't just a question of wrapping something up and giving
> >> it to
> >> someone else to unwrap. It just doesn't work like that."
> >>
> >> At present I am wandering in circles. My wife has just suggested I look
> >> up
> >> hyperlexia. No doubt I will be get more confused.
> >>
> >> Max
> >>
> >> Quoting Jim Bennett <[log in to unmask]>:
> >>
> >> > Well I suppose there is some truth in the proposition that Asperger's
> >> > Syndrome
> >> > is associated with the arts.    I have a number of acquaintances who,
> >> like
> >> > me,
> >> > have Asperger's, (I should explain that we do not suffer with anything,
> >> but
> >> > our
> >> > families tend to suffer with our AS),  and who write poetry.     As for
> >> it
> >> > becoming a "humorous polemic" well that jolts a little.   Perhaps you
> >> could
> >> > focus a polemic on "crips", if perhaps you had a limp once.
> >> >
> >> > Jim
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> This email was sent from Netspace Webmail: http://www.netspace.net.au
> >>
> >
> 






------------------------------------------------------------
This email was sent from Netspace Webmail: http://www.netspace.net.au

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