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The Boy in the Labyrinth: Poems

The Boy in the Labyrinth: Poems

by Oliver de la Paz

Paperback(New Edition)

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In a long sequence of prose poems, questionnaires, and standardized tests, The Boy in the Labyrinth interrogates the language of autism and the language barriers between parents, their children, and the fractured medium of science and school. Structured as a Greek play, the book opens with a parents' earnest quest for answers, understanding, and doubt. Each section of the Three Act is highlighted by "Autism Spectrum Questionnaires" which are in dialogue with and in opposition to what the parent perceives to be their relationship with their child. Interspersed throughout each section are sequences of standardized test questions akin to those one would find in grade school, except these questions unravel into deeper mysteries. The depth of the book is told in a series of episodic prose poems that parallel the parable of Theseus and the Minotaur. In these short clips of montage the unnamed "boy" explores his world and the world of perception, all the while hearing the rumblings of the Minotaur somewhere in the heart of an immense Labyrinth. Through the medium of this allusion, de la Paz meditates on failures, foundering, and the possibility of finding one's way.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629221724
Publisher: University of Akron Press, The
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Series: Akron Series in Poetry Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 164
Sales rank: 1,034,720
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Oliver de la Paz is the author of five books of poetry and coedited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member of Kundiman, he teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran.

Table of Contents


Twenty-Eight Tiny Failures and One Labyrinth 3

Prologue 11

Minos 11


Autism Screening Questionnaire: Social Interaction Difficulties 15

Chorus: Complete the Sentences 19

Episode 1

Labyrinth 21

Chorus: Solve for X 30

Episode 2

Labyrinth 32

Chorus: Light Is to Dark as Nerve Is to _ 41

Episode 3

Labyrinth 43

Chorus: Select an Answer 53

Episode 4

Labyrinth 55

Chorus: Complete the Sentences 63

A Story Problem 64


Autism Screening Questionnaire: Abnormal Symbolic or Imaginative Play 67

Chorus: Select an Answer 72

Episode 5

Labyrinth 74

Chorus: Solve for X 83

Episode 6

Labyrinth 85

Chorus: Complete the Sentences 93

Episode 7

Labyrinth 95

Chorus: Monster Is to Damned as Lariat Is to _ 104

A Story Problem 105


Autism Screening Questionnaire: Speech and Language Delay 109

Chorus: Mongrel is to Madness as Fire Is to _ 113

Episode 8

Labyrinth 115

Chorus: Select an Answer 124

Episode 9

Labyrinth 126

Chorus: Solve for X 136

Episode 10

Labyrinth 138


A Story Problem 151

One Labyrinth 152

Acknowledgments 154

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