Monday, January 18, 2016

Exquisite hypersensitivity

One of those epiphany kind of moments, when a phrase or even just a pair of words stop me and force me to sit down and write. Listening to the New Yorker podcast interview with a poet who began to write as part of her recovery from a catastrophic accident, which included traumatic brain damage as well as multiple other bodily injuries – and she uses the term "exquisite hypersensitivity" [@25:06 in the podcast] to describe the period in her recovery where any stimulus would set off some kind of symptom. I immediately thought of the hyperactive kids at school, and then of the image which pervades my childhood and to which I return as often as I can: my father's bookplate, engraved for him by his father, Herman Pumpian:

What those hyperactive children need is a lot of time with the same quality of peace within one's own thoughts which can be found in the quiet forest, reflecting on a passage from a book. We do that when we give them time to read, in the places and postures that please them, and the silence to enjoy their reading. 

The New Yorker's notes:

Episode 12: part two, a Resilient Poet 1/7/16  Robin Coste Lewis, who recently won a National Book Award, explains how a devastating injury damaged her brain, but aided her poetry.

Her book is 
Voyage of the Sable Venus