Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Beyond Forgetting // Poets of Dementia

A fascinating and utterly heart-breaking article about the release of a new book
Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease.

Excerpt Below // Full Article Here

If artists constitute an early warning system for social change, and I think they do, then it makes sense that filmmakers, novelists and musicians are creating work that looks at aging in general and dementia in particular. Still, when Ms. Hughes posted an online invitation for contributions to a proposed book of poems about Alzheimer’s, she was stunned to receive nearly 500 responses.

Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease,” published by Kent State University Press with a foreword by the noted poet Tess Gallagher, is the poignant result. Its authors are a diverse lot: a few have recognizable names and have won Pushcart Prizes and National Endowment for the Arts grants; others are poetry-loving social workers, nurses, physicians and high school teachers.

In a few sentences at the end of each essay or poem, the authors remember their mothers and fathers, grandparents, spouses, siblings, in-laws, friends and patients with Alzheimer’s. One poet who works as an insurance adjuster was inspired by a claim. One writes that she’s experiencing symptoms of the disease herself.

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