Poetry for Life (PFL) is a pilot project to join the skills and passion of the young poets of the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest, with elders at senior, assisted living and adult day care centers.

This pilot-project has taken place in: Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Utah.

"It was at this moment I was shown the absolute power poetry has over Alzheimer’s." Cody Tulip, Durand High, Durand WI
Click for students writing on their experience with Poetry for Life.

Video

Students from North Carolina participating in the Poetry for Life (PFL) pilot project.

“We went to the nursing home to perform Poetry Out Loud. It was mind blowing to see how we could relate, even though we were in different circumstances and different ages, how we could all come together and connect. It was good communication. You get someone to respond to you that has a disability. It shows you that they are listening and they want something to do.”  
                                                                                        -Jacquim Strickland, Andrews High School, Greenville, North Carolina

Poem

Shaking youthful hands with wrinkled hands
Knowing that one-day my hair will be as white as theirs
One day I might need young smiles
With mouth full of teeth to smile at me
An extra boost to make me smile
Shaking youthful hands with wrinkled hands
Is what changed my life.

-Heidi Hankins Charleston Middle School, Charleston, Mississippi

More student writing

 Durand High teachers Geoffrey Baumann and Jason Anger dancing to poetry!

Student Reflection
Today I was a poet. It was amazing watching everyone break out of their shells and embrace the poems we were asking them to join in. I saw in all of their eyes as we were sharing these moments together. I don’t think any of us expected them to be so enthusiastic about the poetry we had them take part in.

-Lillain Sutterlund, Durand High School, Durand Wisconsin

Contact us to find out how your school participate. garyglaznerpoet@gmail.com

In 2013, the U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey, choose the Alzheimer's Poetry Project for the initial broadcast of her new PBS NewsHour series, “Where Poetry Lives.” The series is a partnership between PBS and the Library of Congress. Trethewey writes about working with the APP, “…our grasp of language has a beginning in poetry. To see it used at a very different stage of life, and to such effect, was deeply moving.”

PBS NewsHour on the Alzheimer's Poetry Project and how to perform and create poetry with elders:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec13/poetry_09-12.html