Monday, April 29, 2013

My Father, Humming

Today, another writer turned me on to a series of poems by Jonathan Gillman called My Father, Humming. It reads like a novel and paints a picture of his father’s drift into dementia. As you well know from previous blog posts my grandmother and I were extremely close. Watching her develop Alzheimer’s disease was difficult for me to comprehend as a child. Although, it’s difficult to watch any loved one lose their short term memory and cognitive function. Jonathan Gillman portrays the strong feelings his father evoked in his family and speaks of his often turbulent relationship with his father.  His poems are their journey toward gradual acceptance of one another. He puts words to the profound feelings that are often difficult to articulate but it’s a story that resonates with so many of us. It’s a must read for poetry readers and those with experience dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Here you can listen to Jonathan read a few pieces from 'My Father, Humming':

Praise for My Father, Humming:

“We have to go back,” a dying man says, as the car pulls from the curb, “I’ve left my memories.” It is his son, the author of My Father, Humming, who later finds them, turns them in the lock of what’s forgotten to open the dimension of what he can get back: his father at the piano, “humming” as he plays Beethoven, insisting he will make millions even at 85, shouting when his son tries Bach, “That is not how/it’s supposed to be played!” Jonathan Gillman’s quiet and surprising collection has the feel of discovery and illumination. Listen! “This way’s mine,” he writes, “this long and slow—/finding my own music/in the notes/the Maestro wrote.” 

-Honor Moore, author of Red Shoes


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