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Sarah Roop’s Final Exam on Poetry

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Through written accounts many people learn to see from a different person’s perspective. They are exposed to a different mindset.  Poetry, a universal means of communication, lends itself allowing for the representation of autism to be broached from a variety of focal points. Poetry addresses the challenges that many people on the autism spectrum and their family members are faced with, but it also allows for an escape for those individuals, allowing them to express themselves in a world that is often so quick to limit them. In this, the strength of the individual is seen, whether it is a mother who sees the judgment of their child or rather a glimpse into the thoughts of the person themselves. The difference in authors, a parent or an individual with autism, yields a difference in perspective, yet they both show the fight they undergo and the beauty that they still see in the world.

Expectations set by society, when not met, force those who are viewed as different into categories, while others proceed to judge them. And often looking to those around them for explanations or even apologies for something they are not accustomed to. In the poetry of Rebecca Foust’s, she counters this advances by defending her son. In “Apologies To My OBGYN”, Foust responds to the behavior of her son after birth. It is apologetic thought the poem, stating, “sorry he took so much of your time” (Apologies).  As he fought to survive and be a part of this world, Foust stood up for him, explaining himself to the world, though differences should not merit explanations. This continues in her poem, “Dark Card”, where she more directly addresses the involvement of others, “When they look at my son like that” (Dark). She explains him, hoping to justify his differences, “Before they get angry, I pull out my deck/deal out what they want…” (Dark). Though it is his differences that make him unique. His behavior should not need to be explained, she should not need to “play the dark card of the idiot savant” to make people more at easy and stop “shoppers shuffl[ing] their feet while waiting on line” (Dark).  Foust demonstrates the difficulties that are presented by the judgment of others, while all she wants for her son is acceptance.                                                                                                                                      Poetry allows for an escape, self-expression from the critical views of others. Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay has been writing poetry for many years and wrote his first two books between the ages of eight and eleven years old. He illustrates the immense connection that he feels with the world and nature surrounding him, explaining his views on nature, as he states, “Who can explain it better than I?/The blue sky surrounds the earth/ Who can explain it better than I?” Mukhopadhyay find security in poetry, especially in his mother reciting it to him, ” because of the predictability formed by the pattern in the words” (Savarese). Rather than limiting him, his poetry and that of other sets him free.                         Foust and Mukhopadhyay hold different experiences with autism and utilize poetry to convey their perceptions with their surrounding.  Poetry allows for expression, while outsiders make attempts to limit them based on differences. This form of liberation exhibits the strength they have developed from their experiences with autism and those around them.

Written by sroop

December 8th, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Rebecca Foust is a best seller!

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While browsing The Poetry Foundation website, I took a look at their best seller lists. They have separate ones for large press contemporary poets, children’s publications, anthologies, and small press contemporary poets. For the week of November 7th, 2010, Rebecca Foust and Lorna Stevens’ book God, Seed: Poetry and Art about the Natural World was #4 on the small press release best seller list.

Rebecca Foust was, of course, one of our poets during our autism poetry unit. I got very excited when I saw that she was on this list because I thought the book might feature some of her work about raising her son, who,  I believe, has Asperger’s. This particular collection doesn’t seem to feature any poetry directly about her son or her experience with him, but it is neat that the voice of an author within the autism community (if not a main part) is getting some attention from the press.

Written by Helen

November 22nd, 2010 at 5:48 pm