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Beyond ForgettingAlzheimer's disease is now estimated to affect one in two persons over the age of 80 and is being diagnosed in people as young as 50. For the many people now trying to cope with a loved one suffering from this tragic disease, this collection will provide solace and valuable insight for family members as well as for those in the medical community who work with those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

Join us for a special reading featuring three books that show how writing can provide solace for those living with dementia, their caregivers and families.

Witnessing Dementia: How Writing Can Move Us Beyond Forgetting

Readers include Holly Hughes, editor of Beyond Forgetting: Poems and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease; poet Tess Gallagher, who wrote the foreword; as well as Alice Derry, Joanne Clarkson, Judy Kronenfeld , Lorene Delaney-Ullman and Gary Thompson. Esther Altshul Helfgott will read from her recently published collection Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems, which describes losing her beloved husband, and Ann Hedreen will read from her soon-to-be published memoir, Her Beautiful Brain, a moving account of the loss of her mother to Alzheimer’s disease. The reading will be followed by Q & A and a book signing; copies of books will be available for purchase. Presented with Alzheimer’s Association’s Western and Central Washington State Chapter in association with the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference.

Beyond Forgetting is an award-winning collection of poetry and short prose about Alzheimer's disease written by 100 contemporary writers--doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice workers, daughters, sons, wives, and husbands--whose lives have been touched by the disease. Through the transformative power of poetry, their words enable the reader to move "beyond forgetting," beyond the stereotypical portrayal of Alzheimer's disease to honor and affirm the dignity of those afflicted. With a moving foreword by poet Tess Gallagher, this anthology forms a richly textured, literary portrait encompassing the full range of the experience of caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease.

Because the writers share their personal stories as well as their poems and prose, this collection will be a valuable companion to anyone embarking on this difficult journey. In their honest, deeply moving, and compassionate portrayals, the voices collected here help illumine the darkness of this passage and help us see, as one of the contributors put it, "the unlikely light shining deep within it."


Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer's Disease was published April 2009 by Kent State University Press as part of its Literature and Medicine Series.