Persons with mental and emotional disabilities, including self-advocates in the fledgling "neurodiversity" movement, often find themselves at a loss to communicate effectively with the "neurotypical," abled majority when experiences of language differ dramatically across typical and atypical populations. This paper explores the possibility of poetic language as a "lingua franca" permitting communication of neurodiverse experiences. It does so by examining examples of animism, synesthesia, and metonymy in Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris and Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red - poetic elements that also appear frequently in the writing of activists with depression, autism, and other neuroatypical conditions. I argue that, by adopting elements of poetry into communication and interpretation, we can generate a "common language" among groups currently believed to have little or no communicative capacity.
Ryskamp, Dani Alexis
"Neurodiversity’s Lingua Franca?: The Wild Iris, Autobiography of Red, and the Breakdown of Cognitive Barriers Through Poetic Language,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 7
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol7/iss1/5