Not long ago, Susan M. Schultz stood reading poetry before a class of undergraduate psychology majors, who just minutes ago were reviewing episodic memory with their dynamic Memory and the Mind professor, Erica Kleinknect. The students seemed to quickly engage this creative approach to the ideas they were studying. After Schultz read, one young man asked a follow-up question about George Oppen (Schultz had alluded to Oppen earlier). I think he asked about whether traces of Oppen's dementia showed up in his late poetry. A discussion about George Oppen! And in a psychology class! Lovely.
Several times recently I've mentioned Susan Schultz' Dementia Blog here, so I won't repeat the basic information about the project; rather I'll direct you back here. Michael Nardone recent completed transcribing the conversation between Leonard Schwartz and Susan recorded for one of Leonard's "Cross Cultural Poetics" shows. We hope to publish it some day in Jacket2 but meantime here's a preview - an unedited transcription of one portion of the interview.
- - -
SCHWARTZ: So, it's a really rich and complicated weave of things, and so beautifully juxtaposed. You know, you have that section: my empathy is memory, is a container into which your experience sometimes fits, shallow grave or swimming pool, death by water. The mind is a memory of overpasses, not to pass over but under by way of air. The air is human. I am the limbless woman.
Can you say a little bit—-I know this is a, you know, vast and grave question—-but a little bit about your take on memory having moved through this experience with dementia, and on the personal level, your mother's dementia, and the political level, with the Bush administration now reaching its end?