Storms of the Inland Sea
Poems of Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiving
edited by Margaret Stawowy and Jim Cokas
Shanti Arts, 2022
Available at Shanti Arts.
An affecting and expertly arranged set of poetic works.
The pain of losing a loved one to dementia is life-altering. A grandmother forgets the names of her grandchildren. A daughter becomes the caretaker for her mother as her mother grows more and more confused. The story is familiar but nothing prepares one for the emotional toll it takes: contradictory, repetitive, heartbreaking, irrational, as vast as the ocean itself. The poems in Storms of the Inland Sea illuminate a subject that too often exists in shadows. If dementia is a disease of confusion and obfuscation, a dismantling of self and memory, the poems in this powerful anthology are an act of grace and remembrance, a way of bearing witness to the true human mercies we find in the face of overwhelming loss.
--Kai Carlson-Wee, poet and visual artist; author of Rail
Margaret Stawowy’s new collection could just as well have been called Lost and Found. These meditations consider a tenuous world, vanished or fated to vanish, as though to reclaim it, to keep it from absolute annihilation. A number of these poems are gorgeous conceits, sometimes playful, sometimes painful, sometimes perplexing, but almost always executed with a sure hand and a cool eye. Stawowy guides us through the undersides of childhood and memory and dread as "someone in love / with anomaly," who is also "always grateful / for grace"—a welcome combination for the lucky reader.
--Thomas Centolella, Dorset Prize winner and author of Almost Human