Palindromes are words or sentences that read the same backwards and forwards.
And for Barry Duncan, the word puzzles became an obsession.
"I thought in the early 90s, I would have to be hospitalized, because I couldn't stop reversing things... I couldn't sleep, I was in bad shape," he told Here and Now's Robin Young.
For Duncan, the problem was he couldn't quite get the palindromes right.
But after years of practice, he now writes palindromes hundreds of words long on specific subjects and he calls himself a "master palindromist."
He recently wrote one for a Cambridge, Massachusetts eco-boutique which imagines a conversation on global climate change between Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Ducan says he aims for natural language, and avoids doubling words in the middle, because that calls attention to the fact that it's a palindrome.
Duncan says he may just be a misfit who imagines that he'll become a hero, but he still believes that "reversibility is reaching a tipping point, it may lead to other kinds of discoveries."
A Here & Now Palindrome by Barry Duncan:____
90.9 spot set, are noon. No wonder: I were hip. Ante-Gross I'm on. Still, at one, no, we
fade? Robin is to host (so hot!). Sin: I bored a few, one, not all. (It's no miss, or get nap.)
I. Here. Wired. Now. On. No one rates, tops 90.9.
Copyright © 2011 By Barry Duncan
____More Palindrome Examples:____
Mark Saltveit of the Palindromist Magazine shared the following palindromes.
"Lapses? Order red roses, pal." -by Jim Beloff
Saltveit also shared his version of "Mary Had A Little Lamb. He writes: I reveal "the previously unknown names of Mary's lamb (Sid) and her school (Del Mar Elementary.) Thanks to Douglas Fink who came up with the title. In my version, each individual line is a separate palindrome.
Mary's Sassy Ram, by Mark Saltveit
Mary, babe, had a he-baby ram,
Niece-elf; no hue, uh, on fleece. In
every task, sad is Mary; as I say, ram Sid (ask satyr Eve!)
too sallied in (snide, ill, a-soot.)
Mary's sassy ram, on! "Lo, ho, class — alcohol?" No, Mary's sassy ram!!
"On I blast, cadet Al – O, I've violated acts!" Albino
ram led pupils to hot slip-up – Del Mar
campus tot-delirial! "A gala! I riled tots up, Mac."
- Barry Duncan, master palindromist who writes the "Reversible Life" blog
This segment aired on October 17, 2011.