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.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I had the good fortune to speak on the Alzheimer's Poetry Project at the 9th annual National Latino Writers Conference held May 18th to 21st in Albuquerque at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. We are working with Carlos Vasquez, the History and Literary Arts Program Director and holding an APP event there in November. He was kind enough to ask me to give a welcoming talk. I met a number of writers including Elena Díaz Bjorkquist who generously shared some of her poetry on her response to her father's dementia.


Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

I ask, “Who am I?”
Daddy lowers his gaze
As if the answer
Will appear
on the floor

Minutes drag by,
I hold my breath –
Has he forgotten me?

Suddenly, he looks up,
“Elena . . .
you’re Elena.”

Satisfied, he nods.
I exhale,
Return his smile,
Pat his shoulder.

He’s forgotten much
But not me.

Elena taught at Santa Rosa Junior College in California for a year before running the CETA Program for the County of Sonoma. When she moved north to Mendocino County she started a bilingual program for Mexican children and taught ESL and Spanish. Later she taught U.S. History and Spanish at Mendocino High School. In 1990, she retired from teaching and began writing Suffer Smoke. In the fall of 1996 she returned to teaching with a position at Sonoma State University where she taught Chicano/Latino Studies classes. More about her at