In The Same House: Poetry of Caregiving

In The Same House: Poetry of Caregiving

Give voice to the unspoken poetry of caregiving

“One of the first things I had to do was learn the language of care: people are ‘service users’; looking after people is ‘person-centred care’; you don’t suffer from dementia, you are a person with dementia.”
Sarah Hesketh, The Hard Word Box

How can a carer recuperate the voice of a person who is cared for? In this course, we will push the boundaries of language to experiment with different poetic techniques that destabilize the idea of how poetry should perform on the page. The carer and the person who is cared for, can mirror each other within private settings. Each session will initiate a creative process of experimenting with poetic form; we will consider the ‘mirroring’ technique to draw the reader into the space of the poem. How is empathy connected to the act of witnessing bodily experience? We will explore the challenges of collaborative work or writing in a supportive role. Over five sessions, we will unpack the complexities of language and negotiation in poetry of caregiving. Sessions will include a poetry-writing exercise, background reading material and feedback to identify unspoken subtexts in the caregiving experience. We will examine poetic concerns like equity of voice ownership and objectifying the body in the works of Donald Platt and John Killick. Looking at poems of caregiving by contemporary UK and US poets include Dawn McGuire, Daniel Sluman, Katherine Hall, Helen Dunmore, Mark Doty, Marie Howe and others, we will address the issue of creating personal and public aspects of self.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Wednesdays, 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 5 Feb 2020.

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About Denise Saul View Profile

Denise Saul is a writer, poet and PhD researcher at University of Roehampton whose research focuses on speech disability and the female carer’s narrative in contemporary poetry. Her White Narcissi (Flipped Eye Publishing) was Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and House of Blue (Rack Press) was PBS Pamphlet Recommendation. She is a Geoffrey Dearmer Prize winner. Denise is the founder of Silent Room: A Journey of Language, a collaborative video poem project, funded by Arts Council England.

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– Summer 2019 survey response

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