“America is a poem in our eyes.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Poet”
June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month. In honor of the month, Schlow Library's Allen Gallery presents the return of Ridgeline's memory care exhibition of poetry in response to photography, "A Poem in Our Eyes." Ridgelines is a local nonprofit that teaches and celebrates language arts that lift up under-heard voices in the ridges and valleys of central Pennsylvania. Through programs, events, publications, and podcasts, Ridgelines empowers new language artists.
"A Poem in Our Eyes" features poetry written by residents of Centre Care Nursing Home’s memory care unit in response to images and photographs by local photographers and others. An annual celebration of a semester-long program of the same name, “A Poem in Our Eyes” highlights the rich intellectual and creative capacities of those living with memory loss.
Teaching artist, Robyn Rydzy, explains that the writers met for 12 weeks throughout the spring. "It’s been a pleasure to meet weekly with participants to look at, think about, talk about, argue about, and laugh along with the images here." The goals of “A Poem in Our Eyes” are: to provide rich intellectual experiences for those living with memory loss; to foster social inclusion and a sense that their words and imaginings are valued; to provide the satisfaction of making something new; to increase mental and emotional well-being; and to provide a vehicle for communicating with others in creative ways. "The program also aims, in the end, to challenge the notion that those living with memory loss are not 'making sense.' Clearly, they deeply are."
The exhibition is on display throughout the month of June. A complete exhibition catalog can be found on the gallery display shelves.