John Killick has worked in dementia care for some time now - he takes (audio records) the words of people with dementia and crafts them into poems - he uses their words as much as possible in their original form.
When I first discovered him - it was great - I'd already noticed a different quality about the way Mum was talking - the stilted, disjointed sentences seem to express the essence of the subject or her feelings. I felt she (and other people Id met who had dementia ) were focussing on the important things in life & were (possibly enviably in one respect) able to cast aside the things that take up most of the average persons life - the minutae of everyday living. OK - this is a romanticised view but if its whats giving people hope and enjoyment in their illlnes and we can participate in it - ...... read John Killlicks poems and this may not sound so 'off the mark' !!!
A Google search "John Killick dementia" will take you on a fascinating journey - some of entries are several years old and John is continually exploring the way people with dementia can be helped to express themselves through creative arts now - not just writing and poems.
Johns first book of dementia poems -
„X You Are Words: dementia poems. John Killick. London, UK: Hawker, 1997.
People with dementia are often ignored and dismissed because they can no longer communicate in the ordered conventional way we are used to. John Killick has given them time to talk, listened with care, distilled and recorded their words in the form of poetry. Poems are accompanied by short commentaries which provide insight into their background.
This was followed by a similar one with photos also.„X Openings: dementia poems and photographs. John Killick. London, UK: Hawker, 2000
John Killick, the Writer in Residence for Westminister Health Care, has woven the words of those with dementia that he has worked with over the years into poetry. Poems are accompanied by photographs of people with dementia in France, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and Germany taken by Carl Cordonnier as part of a project with Dr Florence Lebert of Lille, France. Families and professional caregivers that Cordonnier interacted with during the course of the project spoke of instants of clarity, like a window opening and closing very quickly, flashes that maintain the hope that their loved ones remain the same persons as before.
Another small book describes how he started on these poems & the process -
„X Please Give Me Back My Personality! writing and dementia. John Killick. Stirling, UK: Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling, 1994.
John Killick, a poet who specializes in intense listening to people with dementia, explains his technique and how he constructs poems from these conversations. A collection of this poetry is included.
John Killick has taken in part in production of Training videos for dem care too. I had priveldge of being in Lord Mayors chapel in Bristol (lovely venue) for eveningof music & poetry in aid of local dementia charity. I was so surprised when John Killick was there in person - he read his 'poems' & it was one of those magical evenings you cant describe adequately.
I think he was a major infuence in how I developed my views om dementia care. Interested to hear what you think. BW Chris