The course on haiku included in Haiku Bridges

Happy to see my course on haiku for Parkinson’s Art aiming at people living with #Parkinson‘s, their families, and friends, being included in HAIKU BRIDGES, the new feature of The Haiku Foundation!

HAIKU BRIDGES is a new periodic feature from The Haiku Foundation designed to encourage and communicate significant haiku outreach initiatives to new audiences.

Scott Mason, running the feature, invites suggestions of such initiatives for possible inclusion in a future post.

I copy the post below:

Regular readers and writers of haiku recognize that their haiku practice confers personal benefits beyond the literary—it offers the therapeutic values that come with mindful awareness plus a felt connection with their surroundings. The nonprofit organization Parkinson’s Art, through its Parkinson’s Art Academy, will be offering those with Parkinson’s Disease and their families, friends and care partners a free eight-session course on haiku and haiku-related forms starting on September 18th. The online course was designed and will be conducted by Stella Pierides, a Member at Large of The Haiku Foundation board.

The mission of Parkinson’s Art is “to inspire and develop creativity across the Parkinson’s community.” Through its Academy the organization currently offers courses ranging from the visual arts (“Drawing & Painting Portraits”) to the literary arts (“Poetry Without Fear”).

Jan Sargeant, Director of Literature in the Arts at Parkinson’s Arts, states: “We are delighted to provide our audience with the opportunity to experience the power and beauty of this deceptively complex form of poetry. And we’re just thrilled to have someone as accomplished and committed as Stella to teach it.”

For more information, visit Parkinson’s Art.

Trevor Woollard, who set up the organisation noted that a lot of the major charities in the sector focus – rightly so – on exercise. But there are huge numbers of people who are less mobile or not sport-orientated or don’t have that kind of ability. And they’re often forgotten.

Exercise is important – but so is exercising the mind and soul.

I am looking forward to the course. Haiku, the shortest of poems, packs quite a punch!

Tulips for Breakfast: Haiku Course

haiku for Parkinson's

I am thrilled to be teaching a brand new course on haiku
for people affected by Parkinson’s, their families, and friends, for
the Parkinson’s Art Academy. Starting 18 September 2021 it runs for 8 weeks.

Parkinson’s Art is a non-profit organisation run by artists and writers living with Parkinson’s disease.

Its mission is to:

  • Promote the benefits of art to those affected by Parkinson’s Disease
  • Provide a platform to collaborate and share artwork
  • Showcase Parkinson’s art and raise awareness through exhibitions and events
Haiku, Parkinson's Art Academy

At the centre of this effort, stands the Parkinson’s Art Academy, offering a variety of free courses on literature and the fine arts. It taps into the wealth of experience existing in the community of people with Parkinson’s.

Tulips for Breakfast: Parkinson’s Art

Recently, during my internet meanderings, I came across a very exciting international community of people with Parkinson’s: Parkinsons.art

They are

… a registered, non-profit organisation run by artists and writers living with Parkinson’s Disease. It is a voluntary initiative with 100% of every donation and funds raised going directly to Parkinson’s charities and supporting arts projects within the community. Parkinson’s Art works closely with Parkinson’s UK as well as supporting other Parkinson’s related organisations.

Parkinson's

The mission of Parkinsons.art is to:

Promote the benefits of art to those affected by Parkinson’s Disease

Provide a platform to collaborate and share artwork

Showcase Parkinson’s art and raise awareness through exhibitions and events

The original brainchild of Trevor Woollard, Parkinson’s Art is run by a small team of dedicated volunteers with expertise in various art disciplines ranging from painting through photography and sculpture to prose and poetry.

Their first major exhibition, ‘VIVID Dreams 2020,’ will be held at the Oxo Tower in London, UK, from 18-29 August 2021. Vivid dreaming is a symptom of Parkinson’s. The exhibition (and the accompanying catalogue) reflects this experience in a selection of artwork and poetry. There’s a virtual aspect to the exhibition, too: an app with augmented reality that allows people to view the exhibited works of art on their own walls.

Parkinson’s Art also runs the Parkinson’s Art Academy, which offers a variety of free courses on literature and the fine arts. It taps into the wealth of experience existing in the community of Parkinson’s, which includes many amazing artists.

I am pleased to say that I am joining this wonderfully creative group: I will be offering, in the autumn, an introductory course on haiku. More about this soon …

P.S. You can now pre-order the official ‘VIVID Dreams – London’ catalogue. This A5 book contains all the paintings from the VIVID Dreams 2020 exhibition, plus a selection of poetry and stories of inspiration from the Parkinson’s community.
Check it out here: https://instagr.am/p/CRLczldsANU/

Tulips for Breakfast (3)

The end of April, Parkinson’s Awareness month, is not the end of the effort required to increase Parkinson’s awareness. The work to develop ways to make life easier for those living with the disease, as well as to find a cure, continues year-round.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an immensely complex and multifaceted illness affecting millions of people around the world. Characterized by “progressive dopaminergic neuronal dysfunction and loss,” it is expressed in motor, cognitive, mood, and behavioral symptoms. Alleviating symptoms, and fighting the disease depends on improving our, at present, incomplete understanding of it: as sufferers, as activists, as researchers.

In my reading of blogs, articles, and social-media posts about PD written by people living with it, and others, I come across presentations that seem to fall into two broad categories: On one end of the spectrum are accounts wishing to convey what the disease is “really like;” these writings are often of the pain, emotional and psychological impact the physical deterioration has on those suffering from it. On the other end, whatever the manifestations of the disease are, the emphasis is on ways the writers have found to deal with their symptoms and even slow the progression. There are, of course, presentations that, to some extent, balance these two extremes, but they are only a few. Both strands are discernible in the contributions featured this April.

So what is PD like? One moment the person with PD looks like the acute sufferer according to the former category; the next, like the exercising enthusiast keeping the disease at bay. There is clearly a disease that is highly variable, multi-faceted and in urgent need of attention. And yet, if you search for depictions of PD, you will most often encounter an infographic like this

Well, I look nothing like it!

Norwegian video journalist Anders M. Leines used still images to portray younger, “early-onset” Parkinson’s patients in a series of portraits at his exhibition “This is Parkinson’s.”

Parkinson's


In an interview by Geoffrey Chang, a post published in 2015 in Parkinson’s Life, the online lifestyle magazine for the international Parkinson’s community by @euparkinsons, he says

The idea is to give the image of Parkinson’s disease a ‘total makeover’. There is huge potential for better and more powerful storytelling within the Parkinson’s community. In medical textbooks, as well as in the media, people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) are traditionally depicted as tiptoeing, shaking and stooping seniors with whispering voices and a staring glare, imparting the impression of an apathetic or asocial person who lacks empathy and is uninterested in taking part in normal social interplay. This image is of no help to the patient as it fosters prejudice.

Journalist Teresa Borque when diagnosed with PD at an early age, underwent a huge identity crisis. In her post on Parkinson’s Life, she says

Being a woman is a daily struggle in this society. At work, we struggle to be considered as good as any man there; we struggle in relationships to be respected as a whole person; we struggle during motherhood not to be reduced to the role of just a mother. But with Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, the fight increases by 100.

While we all base our self-esteem on the other people’s recognition of ourselves, she points out – women have to learn to be their own highest priority in life. “Parkinson’s disease feels like an ally of sexism,” she writes, emphasising why it’s crucial for women with PD to learn to prioritize their own wellbeing.

Then there are depictions of PD outside the two poles. So negative depictions, or silences, that are painful to read; many of the writers drove themselves to suicide. Or, so positive, so glowing with challenges, achievements and enjoyment of every minute of the day, that upon reading them, a healthy person might wish they had Parkinson’s. I appreciate the motivational power of such accounts and often read them to inspire myself to do more.

We need to keep talking. We need to keep listening. We need to keep producing the pieces that will one day complete the puzzle that is Parkinson’s.


Literature, Art, Culture, Society, and lots of Haiku