dis/lit

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CoPo Post

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Hey guys, those of you who are also in CoPo already know this, but I shared the link of the interview between Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay and Grinnell College’s Ralph Savarese with the Contemporary Poetry blog seeing as it talks a great deal about poetry and the writing process. Here’s the response I got: (She includes one of her son’s “chants,” or spoken poetry.)

Matt,
Thank you so much for this tidbit of unexpected diversion, when I was trying really hard to stay on task and get some assignments completed. That said, this is absolutely mesmerizing and so on target; I absolutely would not have missed it for the world. It is quite interesting to consider how the deconstruction and synthesization of sensory input lends itself to poetry and the arts in general. The unique thought processes and patterning of autism would, in fact, almost seem to lend themselves to poetry.

I do wonder, though, how this compares and justifies with research that indicates that the incidence of autism is much higher in families where, both parents are highly educated in mathematics and science, compared to the incidence in parents who trend toward the humanities. Perhaps, in some milder cases, parents who trend toward the humanities simply do not notice any peculiarities in their child’s thought processes. This does lead to the question, what is unusual, what is a disability and who decides what is normal or that a particular way of thinking, perceiving or behaving is somehow wrong or odd. Is not uniqueness what makes this world beautiful?

As you may know, my son, Justin, has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. He is constantly coming up with odd comparisons and metaphors, many of which are quite poetic. Because of his love of poetry, and his penchant to speak in rhythmic tones, I have always felt that he might someday make a good poet. He often chants things, some seem very repetitive like he is, as Tito says, “lost in a labyrinth” of some small minute detail, and at other times he personifies objects in unique ways. I transcribed this from one of his chants about a year ago (when he was nine).

Tick-tock, the clock is broken.
Bing-bong, it’s got the wrong voice chip in it.
The glass is broken; the hands are bent.
It’s about to rain; the clock will be ruined.

Clock hands!
Clock glass!
Off with the hands!
Off with the face!
There it’s fixed.

But what time does it tell?
The clock knows.
Now I’m the clock; tick-tock;
I tell what time it is when it snows.

Written by Matthew

November 19th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Posted in uncategorized

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