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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Poetry by Octavia McBride

What Remains
For Mom

her memory
a soup of evaporating dissonance
has survivors
gentlemen with brogues, mouthing all kinds of blues
Yeats & lots of Langston

Octavia McBride and her daughter Sojourner have worked with the APP in Philadelphia. Her new poetry collection, "Where My Birthmark Dances," will be published by Finishing Line Press this July. For more information go to:

We will post more of her poetry when the collection comes out. It was delightful to work with her and her daughter. Congratulations on the new book!

The image above is from Sojourner's blog and shows Octavia hanging a poetry butterfly! Read more at:

Octavia McBride-Ahebee is a writer of poetry, short stories and plays. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States, McBride-Ahebee lived for nine years in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa. A former reporter for The Philadelphia Tribune, her literary work has appeared in the following books and journals: It Is Time For Change; Speeches of William R. Tolbert, The Beloit Poetry Journal, International Quarterly, The Eagle Spirit, and Poet Lore (2nd place winner in the John Williams Andrews Narrative Poetry Competition).

Educated at Williams College and Cheyney University, McBride-Ahebee's debut collection of poetry, Assuming Voices, has recently been published by Lit Pot Press. McBride-Ahebee's poetry gives voice to women who historically have not been heard; African women, women in refugee camps, women who are victims of civil war, women who are new immigrants and village women battling such diseases as breast cancer and obstetric fistula.