The poetics of stutter

Canadian poet Jordan Scott is a stutterer, one for whom the act of speaking is a minefield. Jordan’s blert consists of longer poems interspersed with short “Chomp Sets”, followed by a prose meditation:


“Having stuttered all of my life, blert represents a spelunk into the mouth of the stutterer, a trek across labial regions, a rappel through the stalagmites of molars and canines, a lexical navigation into the cavernous poetics of what it means to stutter.  blert performs the stutter in and through language itself, enhancing the characteristics of the individual who stutters in his or her speech by invoking a stuttering in the language system as a whole.  In blert, the unique symptoms of the stutter, both sonic and physical, are utilized in order to reveal language as a rolling gait of words hidden within words, leading to granular rhythms and textures, all conducted by the mouth’s slight erosions…The stutter here appears on its own terms, rejecting the metaphoric, thematic, graphic . . . or representational aspects of this language disturbance. The text is written as if my own gibbering mouth chomped upon the language system, then regurgitated the cud of difference. My symptoms are the agents of composition.”

 Some excerpts from blert: 


Some will not when by themselves

Some will not when speaking to children

Some will not when they sing

Phonemes flounder brickette warmth. Tethered to seven molluscs, an osteoblast chomps into the burger of kelp’s wreck; an osteoclast nibbles a puffin’s scapula in mid-afternoon weight. Each webbed foot tussles, the soft hum of slipper, on hardwood floors.

What is the utterance? 

Dewlap syllables Mesozoic.  The billabong passes as gung-ho through scaffolded throats, blotches lobule curves until Mesozoic ricochets cochlea, at a slow freight. The palate thermoregulates, camouflages, the antelope roll. 

What is the utterance?

My mouth drew the swallow’s panic.  Chew pteryla; the spaces between them chomp apterium; gizzard beat Broca, Broca. Chirped electrode. Sing fuming. Sing furious. Now, open your mouth and speak. Incisive fossa in labial turbulence, sing  fuming, sing furious.  In neuroimaging, filoplumes blitz.  Now open your mouth and speak.  Sing frumious.    

What is the utterance?

What a poor crawling thing you are!

Valsalvas (11)


lactic acrobat

pretzel lumbar

licorice ganglia

crackulates scapula

calliope tremor coccyx


crypt walk

jaw arctic

Chomp Set (20)


As this review says: “blert attempts to crack open the disgust felt by those trying to normalize the disfluent; it is a bomb at the psychological gates of the phobic.”


About middleeuropeanmelancholy

64 year old Australian born male. Into travel, poetry, philosophy, music, popular physics, mathematics (especially topology)...
This entry was posted in Disability, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s