Columns by Philip Schultz

Poetry and Dyslexia


The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz didn’t learn he was dyslexic until his oldest son was diagnosed with the condition. The following is an excerpt from his memoir, My Dyslexia, which chronicles his experience. Check back on Monday when Schultz joins us to answer a few questions.

I finally understand that the life of an artist is in many ways similar to the life of the dyslexic. Both are essentially dysfunctional systems that produce in each individual volumes of anxiety, perseverance, and rejection, as well as creative compensatory thinking. Each, by their very nature, makes a victim of its creator, turning him into an outsider and misfit. It’s true of all artists, I think, at every level of success, the more gifted, the greater and riskier the anxiety and struggle. Each must, without appeal, strive to tolerate its own forms of self-defamation, creative excitement, and lack of forgiveness.

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