L is for Lexical
I am a lover of lexicon! Anything that has words awakens my hyperlexia, the good kind, my passion for reading. I believe that words must increase the uptake of serotonin in my brain, producing a natural high.
When I was two, my brothers came home from kindergarten with rhymes they learned at school. I used to hear them recite them once to my mother. Later, when my father came home from work, I would run to repeat them from memory to my father. Nursery rhymes, songs, stories, I loved them. In fact, in the introduction to a chapter in my book about gifted females, I used a personal narrative about myself. For readers who saw this in a previous blog, forgive the repetition.
Hailey discovered words the first time her mother read nursery rhymes and other poetry to her. She imagined herself playing with the words – tossing them up in the air and watching them spiral, leap, and dance…She invented special gestures to accompany the delightful sounds of her special words and shared them with all she met (Navan, 2009, p. 27).
As a preteen, I read through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books, moving on to Louisa May Alcott books. The custom of “reading through” or almost reading all the works of an author stuck with me – Hemingway, Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, and in adulthood Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Dillard, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, and others. When I began studying Spanish language and literature, there was Garcia Lorca, Cela, Delibes, Matute, and more. I am happiest when there are words in front of me.
L is for Logomachia
The spark that began my reflection in this regard was a story I heard on NPR’s Morning Edition a few days ago. It was an interview with Ohio’s first Poet Laureate, Amit Majmudar. He is also a radiologist. My favorite poems are those that leave me with the physical feeling of “ah” inside, even more so when they evoke not only the physical reaction in my chest that pushes outward on my ribcage, but also bring forth the verbal “AH!” from my lips. Majmudar is one of those poets.
In the interview the poet shared how he finds similarity between the mechanical work of a radiologist and composing poems. The two acts are similar for him in that both are a way of looking at patterns. Looking at an x-ray, he finds the pathology, the abnormality that disrupts the pattern. With his poetry, he delights in creating patterns with words. He said, “For me, it has this mathematical, musical aspect to it that quickens it into poetry.” Below I share some lines from the Radiology section of his poem, Logomachia.
Each pixel: a point geometry
defines dimensionless, no height,
no width, no death. I see what ails the body
by regressing body back to spirit:
the volume a stack of planes, the plane a row
of lines, the lines a string of points,
and the point, at last, nothing at all, all form
substanceless by radiologic proof. I read
no images more imaginary than
the mind’s, every layer of it immaterial–
the gray matter,
the white matter,
the dark. (Majmudar, 2016, p. 76-77).
Yes, I am a lover of all things lexical! I imagine the worst punishment I could ever suffer might be to deprive me of the printed word.
L is for lexical, and Logomachia.
Majmudar, A. (2016). Dothead: Poems. New York, NY: Knopf.
Navan, J.L. (2009). Nurturing the Gifted Female: A Guide for Educators and Parents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
NPR, Morning Edition. http://www.npr.org/2016/04/07/473238301/a-radiologist-and-poet-explains-how-he-sees-the-world-in-patterns
Photo by Pierre Metivier on Flicker (https://goo.gl/VfN1AB) (CC BY-NC 2.0).
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016) Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge
One thought on “L is for Lexical, and Logomachia”
A great post! And thanks for introducing me to Amit Majmudar’s poetry.
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