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Fiction by Norwegian Women

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Poet Jack Gilbert; When Forgotten Things Are Collected

Painting by Jack Richard Smith

I am a huge fan of Gary Glazner and the work that he does with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project.  I had the good fortune to assist him, a few years ago, with a workshop for seniors at my neighborhood adult daycare center, where many of the clients have Alzheimer’s.  If you want empirical evidence of poetry’s ability to exert itself in a brain left for dead see Gary in action. See him as he ever so gently and vivaciously pulls to the surface of those with Alzheimer’s forgotten poems that were once committed to memory and to the heart and had gotten clobbered by the weight of this disease.   So often Gary’s workshop participants become so animated by verses they recall and recite and there is a kind of passion that covers their blank faces even if just for brief moments. 

As poet and daughter, I cared for my own mother, an Alzheimer’s patient, who died this past March. To the very end my mother still clung to poetry.  With a dead tongue, she spoke of poetry’s true power; to recognize, to celebrate and to redeem.

The following is a poignant article by John Penner, of the Los Angeles Times, about poet Jack Gilbert, the recent publication of his collected poems and what Alzheimer’s had claimed.  Mr. Gilbert died this past Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this posting. The recording is priceless.