Palliative Care in Other Words

"Once I planned to write a book of poems entirely about the things in my pocket.  But I found it would be too long; and the age of the great epics is past."--G. K.  Chesterton

The project will use a creative writer specially recommended for this work by the ASU Creative Writing faculty, someone attuned to the nuances of the circumstance.  Poets, in particular, have a knack for hearing and valuing a moment, even if at first it may seem fragmentary.  Poets, in our experience at ASU, have been particularly adept at working with Alzheimer patients, precisely because of this quality.  Alzheimer patients do not live narrative lives any longer, but rather lyric ones.  We see a clear crossover here.

The writer-facilitator will work with the palliative care patient in a variety of ways individually suited to the personal scenario.  In general, the writing will be a result of thinking and associative writing triggers in the form of exercises and surprise presentations, such as "smell bags."  With a clear eye toward narrative but using and privileging the basic methods of poetry--simile, metaphor, objective correlative, memory, imagination, artful language--the writing will speak to the patient's life in some manner--likely in an unpredictable but plainly meaningful sequence of words and text.  The writer-facilitator will help with the prompts and gently guide the patient, especially with regard to trite or jaded language, working to make a wholly original presentation.

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