Metaphor Medicine

Facilitated by Wayne Gilbert

Denver, CO

Wayne Gilbert was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2005, and his poetry practice has been an essential aspect of his own care. In 2020 Wayne created Metaphor Medicine, poetry workshops to help improve the lives of people with Parkinson's (PwPs) and their care-partners through making and sharing poems in a supportive community. While making and sharing poems does not diminish symptoms or slow the inevitable progression of the disease, it does make them more bearable and meaningful. Metaphor Medicine encourages everyone to become a poet, and to search their own experience deeply for life-affirming possibilities beyond the suffering and limitations of chronic illness.

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Wayne offers Metaphor Medicine on-line, and in cooperation with various Parkinson’s support and advocacy/education groups. For example, Wayne is collaborating with the Davis Phinney Foundation (DPF), an international Parkinson’s educational and advocacy organization, to offer Metaphor Medicine to its Ambassadors. DPF Ambassadors are people with Parkinson's selected and trained to mentor, coach, counsel, and advise other people with Parkinson’s in various specialty areas. He has also done workshops for local support groups.

IPM is pleased to be funding and supporting this poetry partner program.
If you'd like to support this effort, please consider donating!

Wayne Gilbert

Wayne Gilbert is a poet, actor and dancer based in Denver. After retiring from teaching, he first became an IPM Poetry Partner as the founder and facilitator of Unlocked Poetry, a monthly poetry workshop for men incarcerated in Sterling Correctional Facility, a Colorado maximum-security prison. After 4½ years as the program leader, Wayne turned Unlocked Poetry over to Lighthouse Writers Workshop in March 2019. It continued until the pandemic of 2020. However, Wayne is still invited to give readings of poems by prisoners in Unlocked Poetry, and to talk about his experience working with poets behind bars. Poets from the group continue to meet on their own as they are able throughout the pandemic.

Wayne Gilbert
If you know of a support or advocacy/education group for people with Parkinson’s Disease and care-partners, please contact Wayne.
He is open to new collaborations in order to bring poetry and mindfulness into the community.
You may purchase "Unlocked Poetry", an anthology of poems by Sterling Correctional Facility inmates.
Unlocked Poetry
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Poetry of Nature Letters
Facilitated by NanLeah, Geoff Oelsner Monthly Letters delivered through November
This Poetic Medicine journey of monthly letters (with access to past issues) is for all kinds of Nature Lovers: for those wishing to create or deepen their Nature practice and poetry writing; for those that are concerned about Earth’s chang- ing climate, and their place in it; for those who have the felt sense that things can be different; and for those who are ready to turn their hearts and minds to a new story.
Through stories, poems, writing prompts, and reflections on the theme of choice, we’ll weave a tangible, living record of our journey together.
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Morning Branches
by Geoff Oelsner
If there’s an award for Most Eclectic Local Album of the Year and Possibly Even the Decade, it will surely go to Geoff Oelsner for his new release, “Morning Branches.”
There is the unadorned informality of Geoff Oelsner, LCSW’s Dream and the theatrical pandemonium of Mad Tom’s Song. And there are some genuine folk songs delivered in Geoff ’s engaging resonant baritone and liberally sprinkled with tasty acoustic instruments and harmony. Two of these songs, My Shady and Borderguards, I would put right up there with the best of Joan Baez or Peter, Paul & Mary.
More than those of most singer-songwriters, Geoff Oelsner’s lyrics read as poetry on the printed page…Oelsner, who once told me that he considers himself “a happy hand-puppet of the artistic process,” often gets song ideas, and even entire songs, from his dreams… Geoff Oelsner is especially attuned to this phenomenon and tries to honor it and be faithful to it when it occurs.
Emily Kaitz, Fayetteville Free Weekly
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Ordinary Mystery
by Geoff Oelsner
Geoff Oelsner doesn’t spend too much time thinking about writing songs. Inspiration, he says, just hits him. He calls them “givens,” and he knows that a gift like that is to be used.
On the recording (Ordinary Mystery), he was backed by Kelly Mulhollan, Robin Rues, Andrew Sieff, and also his family, including his wife and two grown children who now make their careers as musicians.
Oelsner chatted with the us recently about the gifts of songs, the importance of recording with his family and his love of Native American cultures. Four songs on the album are dedicated to the country’s different native peoples, and proceeds from the recording will be donated to Native American charities.
Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making
by John Fox
Transcending the traditional academic approach to poetry writing, Finding What You Didn’t Lose deals with craft but, more importantly, guides readers to explore their deepest feelings and express their own unique insights through the incomparable language of poetry.
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Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
by John Fox
Poetic Medicine is designed for readers wanting to tap their creative energy in order to make a difference in the world, including educators, therapists, parents and their children, writers, couples, and the infirm. As John Fox demonstrates, we all possess the ability to write. This gift enables us to access unlimited spiritual resources that restore our genuine voices and meaning in our lives, while healing and creatively satisfying us.
We Are the Future: Poems with a Voice for Peace
Edited by Merna Ann Hecht
This unique anthology brings readers into the personal, lived experiences of young people whose lives are challenged by leaving a homeland behind and negotiating relocation. At a time of uncertainty with a global pandemic and the very real threat to our planet from climate change, We Are the Future reminds us to stand strong with refugee and immigrant youth in their hopes, dreams and determination for a more humane, just, and peaceful world.
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Geography of Loss
by Judith Prest
Geography of Loss explores grief and loss, whether through death or other experiences. It is a collection of poems detailing family history, lessons from loss and the resilience that come from surviving loss.
Write a Poem, Save Your Life
by Meredith Heller
With writing prompts, tools, encouragement, and moving student examples, Meredith Heller gently guides us in the art of using poetry to figure out who we are and what matters to us and to heal the deeper issues many of us face, such as depression, addiction, health and body image issues, low self-esteem, trauma, gender and sexual identity issues, and home and family problems. Along the way, we learn that writing poems helps us believe in ourselves, make positive life choices, and find direction, purpose, and meaning.
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