Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Parenthetical: On Neural Transformation:

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(One of the things I’ve been reading about recently and am deeply engaged with is the idea of neuroplasticity. The internal reality formed by neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to alter in response to external and internal experience—is not only a mental phenomenon but also a somatic one. The traces in the brain left by experience are associated with particular somatic states, some positive, some negative, some an ambivalent combination of both. Plasticity demonstrates that experience leaves a trace on and influences neuronal networks, modifying the way information is transferred through the brain and body. Experience thus leaves a trace that alters the givens or modifications that have preceded it: this the principle of neuroplasticity. Plasticity can be form-giving and/or form-destroying. Catherine Malabou, a French philosopher who writes on plasticity, draws on the definitions of the French word plastique to suggest that plasticity involves both “structural moulding and deflagration.”*)

(To be continued)

*Malabou, Catherine. What Should We Do with Our Brain? Trans. Sebastian Rand (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008) 6.

1 comment

Julie, I'm sure you've read Norman Doidge's books on the topic of brain plasticity: The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain's Way of Healing. Quite remarkable!

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Julie Joosten

Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in like starlings, Lemon Hound, Lit, Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Her first book, Light Light, was shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2014 Goldie Award.

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