Tuesdays, November 11, 18, & 25, 2014
Someone who helps another find words or stories, whether for the unspeakable, the challenging or the sublime, could be called a midwife. Drawing on the Wisdom Ways theme, facilitator Ted Bowman and guest poets will serve as literary midwives who help participants in finding words for three significant human experiences:
- living with medical conditions
- living with contradictions and conundrums
- the birthing or acknowledgement of beginnings
Session 1: Medical Midwives: Words and Stories from Living with Medical Conditions. Words such as cancer, depression or tumor change a person when the word becomes personal. Because of the power of words, how we describe some medical and mental health conditions can influence the responses to those conditions. The old adage, “if something is unmentionable, it can also be unmanageable,” suggests the foundation for this session. Participants will be aided in finding words or the arc of the medical conditions, no matter the outcome.
Guest Poet Patricia Kirkpatrick received the Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize for Odessa, and was awarded a 2013 Minnesota Book Award. An editor and writer who has taught writing in many colleges, universities, and community settings, she underwent surgery to remove a nonmalignant brain tumor in 2007.
Session 2: Living with Contradictions and Conundrums. If ever a literary midwife would be helpful, it is when faced with contradictions. Can one be thankful, for example, in the midst of grief and grieving? Not thankful for the loss, but thankful in spite of the tragedy or loss. When living with a medical or mental health condition is represented as an enriching, ennobling experience many patients push back. Finding words that honor contradictions and challenge platitudes and conundrums can promote healing and well-being.
Guest Poet Jim Moore’s Underground: New and Selected Poems makes its debut in September 2014. A recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship who teaches in the MFA program at Hamline University, he lives in Minneapolis with his wife, photographer JoAnn Verburg.
Session 3: Assisting in the Birth of Beginnings: Advent, Solstice and a New Year. Approaching this season, words for what has been, for what is and what might be, abound. Regret, resolution, rebound, and renew can dominate vocabularies in ways that are helpful or off-putting. Join with others in exploring words for the birth of beginnings.
Guest Poet, essayist and lyricist Michael Dennis Browne is Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Minnesota.
Poet, editor and grief educator Ted Bowman is a community instructor in Family Education at the University of Minnesota and an adjunct professor in Social Work at the University of St. Thomas. He is co-editor of The Wind Blows, The Ice Breaks, a volume of poems by Minnesota poets adressing themes of loss and renewal, and author of two booklets addressing shattered dreams, Loss of Dreams: A Special Kind of Grief and Finding Hope When Dreams Have Shattered.
Honoring Choices Minnesota (HCM), an initiative of the Twin Cities Medical Society, is pleased to be a partner of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet’s “Literary Midwives” education series. For additional information on the Honoring Choices statewide advance care planning initiative, visit www.honoringchoices.org.