The Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) is pleased to announce an additional seminar this semester on 6 March at 5pm in Room 119, Hamish Woods Building on the Glasgow Caledonian University campus. Alice Major, a poet and writer originally from Dumbarton, now lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where she served as the first Poet Laureate for the city from 2005-2007. She has written eight books of poetry, in addition to a novel for young adults, and has recently written Intersecting Sects: A Poet Looks at Science, which has been described as ‘practically perfect’, impressing both literary critics and scientists alike. With a particular interest in the cognitive sciences, Alice will be sharing her experience of living with her father as he suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. The abstract for her talk is below. Alice is in Glasgow with the generous support of an Outreach Award from the Foundation for Canadian Studies in the UK, arranged by Anouk Lang and Michelle Smith of the University of Strathclyde. Enquires: Matthew Smith
Writing about dementia comes mostly from outside the experience itself. Since cognitive decline affects the ability to structure language, people with conditions like Alzheimer are no longer able to articulate ‘what it is like.’ However we want to record the experience in a way that respects its completeness and dignity. How can a writer take on the task of recreating dementia in language? Part of the answer might lie in the surprising persistence of metaphor – a capacity we think of as language-based – even after language itself fragments.