Live Virtual Group Session: 2pm EDT May 23rd 2020

A combination of new and returning participants, 35 total, joined us today, representing local (including IN, PA, NJ, NY, and OH) and international (including India, Canada, the UK, and Switzerland) perspectives. 

Our text was Poem With Disabilities by Jim Ferris, posted below. Two readers read it aloud twice. One participant acknowledged that the poem made her feel vulnerable, especially in the time of the pandemic. Others echoed this sentiment, recognizing that the poem points to the fact that we are all dis/abled in some way, either because of immigration, lack of access, inability to speak other languages, etc. Participants also pointed to the accessibility of the language in the poem, making it easier for readers to enter the poem. Several participants found the first half of the poem light, even humorous, but then noted the way the poem “pivots” in the middle: with the line “you’re reading along and suddenly everything changes,” the poem itself changes, becoming “darker” and implicating the reader in a more profound, challenging way. One participant pointed to a parallel between people and poems–they don’t always behave how we want them to and they can be difficult to access, but they’re worth the trouble of trying.

Our prompt was “Write about a time when your angle of vision jumped. Four participants shared their writing, inspiring a rich array of responses from the listeners. One sharer reminded us that we can just show up and be ourselves, even if we originally had feelings of insecurity; this reader likened the Zoom gallery view to ducks in a row, forever changing how we see ourselves in a Zoom meeting. Another reader wrote how “someone switched the lenses in my eyeglasses without giving me an eye exam,” when sharing her writing about her grandfather’s sudden terminal diagnosis. Another sharer constructed a poem that included three heaps, three onlookers, and three perspectives; it was full of struggle, victory, and failure. The final reader wrote about how unprepared she really was when she recently started working as a substitute teacher, likening the concept of adolescence to the theme of the poem. As we were saying our goodbyes, one participant wrote in the chat box that today’s session was a “Happy meal for thought.” A good note to end on a rainy Saturday.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Please join us for our next session Wednesday, May 27th at 12pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Poems with Disabilities
         By Jim Ferris

I'm sorry—this space is reserved
for poems with disabilities. I know
it's one of the best spaces in the book,
but the Poems with Disabilities Act
requires us to make all reasonable
accommodations for poems that aren't
normal. There is a nice space just
a few pages over—in fact (don't
tell anyone) I think it's better
than this one, I myself prefer it.
Actually I don't see any of those
poems right now myself, but you never know
when one might show up, so we have to keep
this space open. You can't always tell
just from looking at them either. Sometimes
they'll look just like a regular poem
when they roll in . . . you're reading along
and suddenly everything
changes, the world tilts
a little, angle of vision
jumps, your entrails aren’t
where you left them. You
remember your aunt died
of cancer at just your age
and maybe yesterday's twinge means
something after all. Your sloppy,
fragile heart beats
a little faster
and then you know.
You just know:
the poem
is right
where it

Laboratori Di Medicina Narrativa: sabato 23 Maggio dalle 16 alle 17.30

Ringraziamo le centinaia di persone che da tutta Italia hanno trovato il tempo per condividere i loro pensieri e le loro emozioni nel nostro spazio Zoom. 

Dapprima, abbiamo studiato insieme il quadro proposto alla fine di questo post. I partecipanti sono rimasti colpiti dagli elementi di amore, attenzione e cura familiare. Si è parlato dell’ascolto, del dono della letteratura e dell’idea di una “lettura accurata”. Qualcuno ha fatto notare la luce carezzevole che cade sul volto dell’anziano, l’espressione del ragazzo, la vicinanza delle mani. Sono emersi molti dettagli della stanza: la tazza, la teiera, la stufa, i cuscini, il grembiule, le differenze nell’uso dei colori… Da alcuni, la scena è stata letta come la rappresentazione di una vita che cresce e si sviluppa (quella del ragazzo), mentre un’altra vita (quella dell’anziano) che si avvicina alla fine. 

Prima di rivelare il titolo originale dell’opera, i partecipanti sono stati invitati a dare un proprio titolo e scriverlo nella chat: molti si sono focalizzati sulla parola e l’ascolto, ma non è mancato chi ha messo in luce la differenza d’età, la cura, la relazione. Solo a quel punto, il titolo originale e l’autore sono stati resi noti: Devozione al nonno (1893) di Albert Anker.  

Poi, è venuto il momento della scrittura. L’invito tematico era: “Descrivi una scena di cura”. I testi condivisi hanno parlato sia della famiglia che dall’ambito sanitario sottolineando l’importanza della cura, per sé e per gli altri, soprattutto oggi, in questo momento di crisi. 

Ringraziamo ancora i partecipanti per la ricchezza degli scambi, e invitiamo chiunque voglia farlo a condividere il proprio scritto alla fine di questa pagina (“Leave a Reply”), per creare un ulteriore spazio di condivisione e confronto.

“Devozione al nonno” di Albert Anker