Alzheimer's Poetry Project

This blog will be a place to post poetry written by people living with Alzheimer's disease. We will focus on poetry that is created as part of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project. We will post information and news about dementia. We hope this blog is of use to the family members who have a loved one with dementia.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Poetry for Life


Minds like locked boxes
Presented in the round
I used language like keys
And love is what I found
Love for the now and for history
And the love was unlocked
With the key of poetry
- Jalen Bell

So excited with get to work with talented Jalen Bell, the 2014 Poetry Out Loud, Arkansas State Champion and his family! He wrote that wonderful poem after our poetry session on Tuesday performing and creating poems with the people at Innisfree Senior Living Community in Rogers.

His younger sister Jaden also participated in the session as did his father Donovan. Jaden is preparing to take part in the National Spelling Bee. When I asked about her favorite word to spell, she said Pfeffernuesse, the German Christmas cookie. As soon as she replied one of the men in the group jumped up, went to his room and brought back a Pfeffernuesse! It was delicious!

Yes we also read the patron poem of the home, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree." The event was hosted by the Arkansas Arts Council. Big thanks to Cynthia Haas the Arts in Education Program Manager.

Poetry for Life is a pilot project to bring students who are participating in Poetry Out Loud to assisted living, adult day care and senior centers to perform and create poems with the elders.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dementia Arts Research Article in the Washington Post


Fredrick Kunkle of the Washington Post asks, "Can Alzheimer’s be treated with the arts? Researchers aim to determine the answer."

Click here to read the full article.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Institutes of Health and others are pushing for more answers. At Birmingham Green, researchers from George Mason University are conducting a federally subsidized study to examine the impact of the arts on the emotional and cognitive health of older adults.

“There still needs to be a lot of work done,” said Sunil Iyengar, who heads the Office of Research and Analysis at the NEA. Iyengar said research into the effect of art on people with cognitive impairments has suffered from a lack of rigor.

Too many studies lacked proper controls, involved samples that were too small, and were poorly defined. They also may have been looking for the wrong thing, Iyengar said. While searching for hard evidence of biological improvements in memory or cognition, many also overlooked measurable improvements in the mood and well-being of people with Alzheimer’s, and their caregivers, too.

I am thrilled to be included in the article:

“But outside of these things is sheer joy,” said Gary Glazner, founder and executive director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Glazner said he was working at an adult day-care center in Northern California and searching for ways to connect with people with Alzheimer’s disease when he discovered the power of poetry to reach people with cognitive impairment.

Having studied poetry in college, Glazner shared Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Arrow and The Song” with a resident and from the first line — “I shot an arrow” — hit the mark. Glazner uses poetry, particularly beloved classics learned by older adults, in call-and-response with older people and guides them in writing poems. Jump-rope rhymes, even military cadences, can evoke responses from people with cognitive impairment that engage them, he said.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Memory Arts Cafe Holiday Party

Wednesday, December 10th, 6pm
New York Memory Center
199 14th Street, (At 4th Ave.) Take the R to Prospect Avenue

This special holiday season Memory Arts Café will highlight
the artists of the New York Memory Center. Meet new friends and greet
old ones as we ring in the holidays with laughter, toasts and cheer.
Poet-in-Residence Gary Glazner will host the evenings entertainment.

Monday, November 10, 2014

NEA Audio Piece on the APP


Adam Kampe, Media Producer at National Endowment for the Arts has produced an excellent audio piece on the APP. He interviews Professor Kate de Medeiros of the University of Miami-Ohio on using poetry with people living with memory loss. To listen to the piece click here: NEA Audio Piece on the APP

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Australian Radio Interview


Thrilled to be interviewed on by Melanie Tait on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio!
Click here to hear the broadcast
Brought back all the wonderful poems from last year's visit to give a workshop at the Arts and Health Australia conference including "I love a sunburnt country," by Dorothea Mackellar. The photo is from a group I worked with at an assisted living center in Sydney.
More info on the 2014 International Arts and Health Conference click here. Big shout out to Margret Meagher the conference organizer and founding executive director of Arts and Health Australia for bringing me out last year. Oh give me a home among the gum trees with lots of plum trees, a sheep or two and a kangaroo.
My Country
by Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968)

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die-
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold-
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dementia Arts Conference: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care


The New Mexico History Museum joins the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project to share techniques for reaching people with memory illnesses through literature, performance and visual art and museum exhibits on Saturday, October 25, 9am to 4pm, New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue Santa Fe, NM 87501. Registration fee of $35 includes light breakfast and lunch. Continuing Education Units will be available.

To register or for more information call 505-577-2250 or go to: www.dementiaarts.com

Workshops will be led by: Gary Glazner, Alzheimer’s Poetry Project; Alysha Shaw, Lifesongs℠; Jane Tygesson, Discover Your Story; Ruth Dennis, Vista Living; and Jytte Lokvig, Alzheimer’s Café. Poet Stuart Hall will be the featured guest artist.

Partnering Organizations: Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter; Alzheimer’s Café; Alzheimer’s Poetry Project; Discover Your Story, IAIA MFA Creative Writing Program; Institute of Dementia Education & Art; Life Songs; New Mexico Literary Arts; Southwestern College, and Vista Living Communities. The conference is in support the New Mexico Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia State Plan, with the endorsement of: the officeof Governor Susana Martinez New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission; Santa Fe Community Foundation; McCune Foundation; National Endownent for the Arts; New Mexico Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

www.dementiaarts.com

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Celebration of Creativity


New York Memory Center, Alzheimer’s Poetry Project and the
Brooklyn Public Library Present:
A Celebration of Creativity
A Memory Arts Café event, featuring singer Hannah Reimann

Saturday, June 28th, 10:30 am to 12:30pm, Brooklyn Public Library Dweck Center 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. For info: call (718) 499-7701 or visit alzpoetry.com

Memory Arts Café is series of free art events for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, their caregivers and the general public and is co-produced by New York Memory Center and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. The series includes light refreshments and the opportunity to chat with the guest artists.

The Celebration of Creativity with feature guest artist, singer and actor Hannah Reimann and be hosted by poet Gary Glazner. The highlight of the day will be the artists leading the audience, in the creation and performance of an exciting new work combining music and poetry.

Hannah Reimann has performed at Lincoln Center, the Grand Canyon Music Festival, and mostly recently performing the music of Joni Mitchell at the Cutting Room. Jim Brenholts for All Music writes, “Hannah’s range allows her to sing love songs, simple ballads, melancholy blues, and torch songs with equal gusto. Her lyrics are complex and simple; they are heartfelt and liberating.” She has collaborated with violist Paul Coletti performing the music of Argentine Astor Piazzolla. As a film actor, Reimann has appeared in over 20 independent films including the award-winning "The Wounded & the Slain" and “Things I Don’t Understand.” Her original music has been featured on CNN.

The event is co-produced by New York Memory Center, Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, and the Brooklyn Public Library.