Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

The Poetry of Dementia: Art, Ethics and Alzheimer's Disease in Tony Harrison's Black Daisies for the Bride

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2007), 1, (1), 61–73.

Abstract

The essay considers some of the ethical issues at stake in the transposition of the experience of Alzheimer's disease into poetic form. Paying close attention to the complex relationship between ethical and aesthetic spectatorship, it argues that Tony Harrison's film poem Black Daisies for the Bride raises important and difficult questions about the dynamics of 'looking' upon those dying from Alzheimer's. It considers Harrison's exploration of the role of poetry as a form that salvages and creates meaning out of the 'unknowable' experience of profound cognitive loss, examining his engagement with the 'poetry of dementia,' in the context of ethical arguments around personhood and relational identity in recent dementia studies.

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Author details

Burke, Lucy