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Hughes_H cover image

Beyond Forgetting

Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease

Edited by Holly J. Hughes

Literature and Medicine Series
2009, 280 pp
ISBN 978-1-60635-007-2

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Paper, $29.95

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A literary collection that illumines the darkness of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is now estimated to affect one in two persons over the age of eighty and is being diagnosed in people as young as fifty. 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 anyone afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.

Beyond Forgetting is a unique 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.”

Holly J. Hughes’s chapbook Boxing the Compass was published in 2007, and her poems and essays have appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Dancing with Joy: 99 Poems. A graduate of the MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University, she teaches writing at Edmonds Community College in Washington, where she codirects the Convergence Writers Series.


Of related interest:

The Heart’s Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing by Cortney Davis
The Poetry of Nursing edited by Judy Schaefer
Tenderly Lift Me by Jeanne Bryner


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