Pulitzer Prize winner shares experience with dyslexia

TEMP ORARY February 16, 2012 0

This month, world-renowned American poet, Philip Schultz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and founder and director of New York’s “The Writers Studio,” will be coming to Elizabethtown College to discuss his battle with dyslexia and to read his celebrated poetry on Wed., Feb. 22.

Schultz’s presentation, “Learning About Dyslexia,” will take place in the Leffler Chapel and Performance Center at 11 a.m. At 8 p.m. on the same day, he will be reading his poetry at the Bowers Writers House.

Schultz was born in Rochester, N.Y. in 1945. He grew up in an immigrant Jewish family from Russia. Many of his books and poems are centered around his family.

Impressively, Schultz has been teaching creative writing for nearly 40 years. According to “The Writers Studio,” Schultz has taught undergraduate and graduate fiction, poetry, literature and craft classes at Tufts University, Kalamazoo College and New York University.

According to information provided by the Bowers Writers House, Schultz was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that impairs one’s communication and writing skills, at age 58. Last year, Schultz published “My Dyslexia,” a powerful and touching book about the difficulties he faced in childhood.

Schultz struggled with being unable to read. He was held back twice in school and his fellow classmates and teachers ignored him. Schultz was banished to the “dummy class” and no one expected him to succeed. His mother, who dropped out of school after tenth grade, longed to help her son.

In an excerpt from “My Dyslexia,” Schultz shares the time he finally discovered he wanted to become a writer: “I remember the first time I even considered the idea of being a writer. I was in the fifth grade when my reading tutor, whom I had been forced to see after my parents were threatened with the possibility of yet another expulsion asked me out of the blue what I thought I might like to do with my life. Without a moment’s hesitation, I answered that I wanted to be a writer.”

Schultz did not learn how to read until the age of 11. “My Dyslexia” expresses the struggles of battling the disorder at an early age without fully understanding that he even had it.

While at the College, Schultz will present an informative discussion of his book, poetry and life experiences. He will be giving advice for both adults and children who are either currently living with dyslexia or who know anyone who has been diagnosed with the learning disorder.

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