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Wrestling with Words: Poet Philip Schultz Talks about Dyslexia

Philip Schultz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Failure," among other books of verse, has written an unexpected work of prose called "My Dyslexia."

Surprising as it seems, it wasn't until his own young son was diagnosed with the learning disability dyslexia, that Schultz, 58, realized that his life-long struggle with reading, language, and simply understanding directions had a name.

In a candid memoir, the poet recounts a familiar tale — a childhood of confusion, isolation, distain from others, and self-loathing — but not one with a familiar end. Schultz battled through his disability to a life as a writer and teacher. And now that he knows its name, he has come to cherish aspects of his burden, which he says confers "an inborn sense of sympathy with others."

Listen to an excerpt from "My Dyslexia" here:

Schultz reads My Dyslexia

Schulz read from his book, and spoke with Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz and Dr. Bennett Shaywitz of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at the Churchill School and Center as part of the Writers Studio Reading series.  

Bon Mots:

On calling up the right words: "Most people try to avoid cliches. It's my ambition in life to try to get 'em right!"

On becoming an artist: "My imagination was a great place to escape from all the anxiety and disapproval of my life ... I had to live in my head ... art was a way of making myself feel better."

On learning to love your weaknesses: "I think one's relationship with one's vulnerability is a very delicate and precious relationship. Most people try to hide, disguise that vulnerability, and in doing that, you, I think, diminish a great source of power."

Click on the link at the top of the page to hear the full interview with Philip Schultz.