Poetry writing and Asperger’s Syndrome/autism

Snapshot_20160304 (2)I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I am a published poet. (Picture above shows me holding a poetry magazine that recently published one of my poems.) And sometimes that is a great comfort to me.

A couple of years back, I applied for Social Security Disability and had to prove, not that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, but that I’ve had it all my life, including before I turned 21. The government expert— who knew all about autism spectrum disorders since he’d worked with institutionalized autistics— told me that if I was a creative person I could not have an autism spectrum disorder. Which is funny since most of the Aspies I have met online are either writers or artists.

Writing poetry— and getting it published— helps me cope. Even though being a poet is famous for not helping the financial bottom line. And I was wondering if other people with Asperger’s, autism or other disabilities might benefit from taking up poetry. After all, writing a short poem is possible no matter how disorganized or autistic you are, so long as you are verbal or can communicate via computer. And it’s a short enough project that even I can get poems finished— I did one this morning.

I had the idea of writing a book on how to write poetry— or how I write poetry— aimed specifically towards people with autism spectrum disorders. Both those who want to write just as therapy or a creative hobby, and those who want to submit poems to poetry magazines as I do.

I am thinking of calling it Constructing Poetry: A Guide for those With Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. I’ve already written some notes and a partial first chapter.

I doubt a book like that would find a big audience. It’s a very niche concept, and will probably only sell to Aspies and autistics and the parents and teachers of same. But— I’m going to include some of my poems in the book. Probably more than the 24 I have in my chapbook, surly petuniaAnd I bet it will sell better, as well.

I’m hoping to get some feedback from people who have autism spectrum disorders, What would you like to see in such a book? Have you ever tried writing poetry? What parts of it were easy and what parts were hard? In a very secondary way, I’d like to hear from parents and teachers of folks with autism spectrum disorders as well.

So— now I’d like your feedback on my book project. Good idea or bad? Would you or anyone you know buy it?

To keep up with the latest on the project, go to my FB author page: Nissa Annakindt, poet, Aspie and cat person.

6 thoughts on “Poetry writing and Asperger’s Syndrome/autism

  1. I don’t have so much trouble writing poetry as I do writing good poetry. I haven’t tried in decades now as I focus on prose. I have met some aspies and autistics who don’t have much creativity, but most of us have oodles. Since we look at things differently than most people, I think that intersection between modalities of thought churns up creative ideas.
    I have no advice about what to put into your niche book. I do think the idea is interesting.

  2. A lot of the “mentally different” have huge amounts of creativity. I consider myself that, though I do not have aspergers or true autism. On my medical records I classify as Bipolar II. I refuse to self identify as bipolar though, because the term is so ambiguous, and it is almost always used in a pejorative way in our society. I enjoy writing (poetry, short fiction, drama) and drawing and painting. Unfortunately the pills I take to help me “cope with the symptoms” really do kill my motivation if not my creativity.

  3. This is a wonderful idea. I think I have asperger’s – not diagnosed though I score high on most of the tests – and I write poetry too. It’s hard though, many medical terms describing psychological conditions don’t really cover what they are. I’ve been researching it a lot recently and autism really is not well understood at all, especially in women, even by psychologists. A lot more research needs to be done I think.
    Best of luck with your potential project.

  4. I have two poetry books out there and really need to put my as-yet unpublished poems together for a third, but am a bit swamped with other projects. I really want to get my novel out there before I die. And as I’m getting older, I have less and less time to do that.

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