Contemporary Poetry: Schizophrenia vs. aphasia

[ P.S.S. this is a repost]
(P.S.: I use the phrase “contemporary” to avoid being dated by using such terms as “post modern” and “avant-garde.” Contemporary, in my mind, means “whomever is alive now and writing.”)

If you’re a student of postmodern poetics or psycholinguistics, I post this note to save you some trouble, and to ask for a favor.

You’re a writer, a poet, or a student of language. You realize that contemporary poetry and poetics bear at least *some* resemblance to the speech of people who are institutionalized. I consider our friends who are institutionalized a rich trove of linguistic treasure that is ripe for appreciation, meditation, and analysis, and the study of which lies within ethical boundaries to boot.

But good luck finding transcriptions of schizophrenic speech online, or in print media, for that matter. Human subjects guidelines posted by federal funding agencies virtually guarantee that the raw content of interest to you is *absolutely and irrevocably inaccessible*. Trust me. I have tried.

But based on my (limited) experience, you will find a trove of data in articles about aphasia. I have had limited success (akin to the Bush/Cheney administration’s limited success in Iraq and Afghanistan [and where the f*** is Osama Bin Laden, BTW??]) in finding transcriptions of aphasic speech in print media, at least. The data I have been able to find has *enriched* my understanding of contemporary writing.

I humbly issue a call for submissions of data, summaries, abstracts, links, purged emails, conference papers, audio recordings, or papers, from linguists, psycholinguists, students of poetics, psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists. What data can you share that demonstrates a robust link between contemporary poetry and the thought patterns of our friends who are institutionalized?

Noam Chomsky, Marjorie Perloff, Bruce Andrews, Leslie Scalapino, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Raworth, students of J.H. Prynne and our Ur-Poet EarthMother goddess Gertrude Stein: please share your insights, so that those of us who love language and fear not to tread its outer boundaries, may succeed in our continuing development.

Dissertation topic, anyone?


8 thoughts on “Contemporary Poetry: Schizophrenia vs. aphasia

  1. I’m working on a related project at the moment, and I’m also finding it difficult to get my hands of transcriptions of aphasic speech. Perhaps we could pool resources? Feel free to email me if you’re interested.

  2. Hi,

    I am going to use a proposition on this in my doctoral thesis. I was looking for one poem and one aphasic transtript to help support my argument, and then I stumbled upon your website. I think I’d be most convincing if it’s hard or impossible to distinguish one text from the other. I haven’t done much research yet, but I’d be very grateful if you could send me some examples. I am intending to look in a book on psychopathology for transcripts on aphasia. Just email me and perhaps we could join forces.


  3. Pingback: Update: aphasia, contemporary poetry « Wordsalad

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