Facilitated by Wayne Gilbert
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.
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 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.