Facilitated by Magdalena Montagne
Central Coast of California
We are heartily pleased that through WisdomVerse, Magdalena Montagne is bringing a poetry curriculum for seniors and those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other cognitive and physical impairments. We are finding once again that this expressive art heals and enriches lives! More specifically, Magdalena has found that people who live with memory challenges are able to participate and experience connection and meaning. We recognize Magdalena’s brilliant presence that transcends the poetry, is a presence whose quality may best be identified as love.
IPM is committed to bringing poetry and poem-making to elders. We recognize that there is a creative spark in everyone, and we intend to include in this poetic outreach older adults who span the range of cognitive capacities.
Living In the WisdomVerse World
by Magdalena Montagne
WisdomVerse began in 2012 based on the premise that poetry should not be the province of a few, but rather everyone should enjoy poems and poem-making as often as possible. I was particularly concerned for elderly folks who I felt might be denied the benefits of poetry based on stereotypes — of what poetry is and what older adults are capable of. Over the last several years my journey as “poetry advocate” has led me to assisted living facilities throughout the central coast of California, bringing poetry to those with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive and physical impairments. Using published poems from the literary canon as a starting point, these collaborative workshops demonstrate how poetry elevates people on so many levels: how heart connections are made and memories are re-experienced, shared and recorded.
We see how poetry sparks and ignites worlds within worlds; those universes of creativity and imagination that are never lost, regardless of status or age. Thank you John and the Institute for Poetic Medicine for your work in sharing the healing qualities of poetry and allowing me to be a catalyst in as many venues as I can in this most important work.
In my experience poetry definitely stimulates mind, heart and soul. No shortage of laughter and smiles on “poetry day.” No shortage of goodwill as I return to my home office with a new poem to type up and my own sweet memories of what it feels like to be in an egalitarian and loving community.
Perhaps the most exciting development in this past year as a poetry partner is that I have been approached by several writers who are interested in facilitating workshops themselves. Several have come to observe, including a former poet laureate of Santa Cruz County who has had intimate experience with Alzheimer’s — his wife recently passed away after living with the disease for many years.
These experiences hearten and fill me with wonder and awe at how poetry elevates and inspires all those who are fortunate enough to read and/or create with words…just words that mean so much…
IPM is pleased to be funding and supporting this wonderful poetry partner program.
If you'd like to support this effort, please consider donating!
Magdalena Montagne has been leading poetry writing workshops for almost 20 years, most recently in conjunction with libraries in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. Magdalena has been facilitating poetry writing workshops for seniors in assisted living facilities in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties through her WisdomVerse program since 2012. In 2018, she became a Poetry Partner with the Institute for Poetic Medicine to help continue and expand this work. Quarterly, she hosts the Poets’ Circle Poetry Reading Series at the Watsonville Public Library. Magdalena’s poetry has been published in several local literary journals. She lives in Corralitos with her husband and daughter and their Siamese cat, Snowshoe.