100 Names for Love


Hour 2

Poet, essayist, and naturalist DIANE ACKERMAN’s husband, author Paul West, suffered a terrible stroke rendering him with a near-loss of language. The word-consumed couple was faced with developing their own language to pull meaning from the aphasic sounds Paul was making from his formerly sophisticated vocabulary. Before his stroke he had many pet names for Ackerman, and he couldn’t remember any of them. So Diane suggested her husband make up new names for her as their own type of speech therapy. Each day for a hundred days Paul created a new pet name including “swallow haven,” “bow ribbon of the August Sky,” and “my little spice owl.”  Ackerman writes about their heartbreaking story of his partial recovery in her recent book, “One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, A Marriage and the Language of Healing.” She is the author of “The Zookeeper’s Wife” and “Dawn Light.”

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[audio: 051911_110630.mp3]

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