Poetry sculpted from the Living Words of people with dementia

poetry, demenita, Living Words, Susanna Howard, poem, poet
The words of people living with dementia are being turned into poetry by actor and writer Susanna Howard.

As part of of program taking place in the UK, Howard develops a trusting relationship with people with dementia and their families before recording their words for poetry.

'Living Words works with individuals who have dementia. Once a relationship is established through active listening, every word spoken is written and recorded,' the Living Words website explains.

'These words are then sculpted in to poems before being put in to individual books. The books are kept with each person and can help further bond the person with their carer and help a relative see the identity of their loved one; who they are now.'

The results are described as 'poignant and profoundly emotional' by The Independent. Here are two examples:

Number 65
This chair – it’s so dirty feeling
I’m not in a running order
Where do you go to when you
Go out?
I keep out of walking mode
With the mainframe
In the convoy – don’t go around much
I wish
Wish I could drive in a big car
Drive away in a car, oh
Oh I, I wish, wish I could
Fly just fly right away
To number 65 –
Not Drifting along at nothin

The back doorstep
Two or three clever things
In the back of my mind
They seem to stick
To the back of my mind -
You don’t do them.
That expression ‘back of my mind’
Really rather significant:
You forget it’s a phrase
And doesn’t state that you
Are scrubbing the back doorstep

Find out more at the Living Words website
The Independent's story


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