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Featured Poem: Reading Aloud Group by Marina Sanchez

Written by Lizzie Cain, 18th February 2013

Today's Featured Poem is a slightly unusual one, as it was written by Marina Sanchez, a volunteer facilitator with The Reader Organisation. Here she explains the shared reading session which inspired her to write the poem 'Reading Aloud Group':

Two years ago, shortly after doing the The Reader Organisation's training course, I was given the opportunity of doing a short Reading Aloud project at the local Irish Centre, during lunch times with the older members. It was a great learning curve for me and we had a great time and it was very sad when it came to an end.

My poem came about after one very moving session, when for the first and only time during the project, a group member who had dementia, had a series of very clear, lucid reminiscences about her childhood and shared them with the group, much to our delight. We had been reading an extract by Polly Devlin from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman and some wonderful Seamus Heaney poems which triggered her memory.

Coincidentally, I had known her many years before, when we attended the same
local writers' group but she did not remember me. All the sessions were full of
rich and wonderful reminiscences about the rural childhoods of group members,
it was such a privilege to listen to all of them. I did suggest a Reminiscence
Project to the Centre Manager to record and print a book of such valuable
histories (not run by me!) but unfortunately the Irish Centre closed soon
afterwards. I still bump into some of the group members locally and we speak
fondly of the great time we all had.

Reading Aloud Group

It is “the slap, sough and hiss of Loch Neagh”
that suddenly rouse Moira and she sits up,
her eyes luminous with excitement:

Yes! It was like that,
we used to go there as children

For weeks her silence has been her presence,
only opening her eyes to receive copies
of the poems, extracts and short stories we share:

I recognise the names but
I can
t remember reading them.

Years back I knew her but mine is one
more face from a life that’s slipped away,
along with her top ten best seller.

After the slap, sough and hiss of Loch Neagh
take and bring her back, the waters
and the words close behind her.

Marina Sanchez

5 thoughts on “Featured Poem: Reading Aloud Group by Marina Sanchez

Ann Creber says:

Hello Readers,

I thoroughly enjoyed this poem. My husband suffered from dementia for several years before his recent death and I understand that blankness that descends.

I produce & present a weekly radio program in which I read books and interview authors, cover art exhibition openings, book launches and preview films. Also speak with a diverse range of interesting people. As you would appreciate, I have to constantly read… just as well it has always been my preferred vice! .. and I sometimes have three on the go at one time.

I am happy to have accidentally stumbled across The Reader On Line recently and am thoroughly enjoying it.

Best regards, Ann

Ann Creber Producer/Presenter of The Good Life on 3MDR 41-45 Barbers Road Kalorama 3766 Victoria Australia

Marina says:

Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond to your kind comments Ann, I ‘m glad you enjoyed the poem and it resonated with your own experience. Lucky you came across The Reader Organisation and they do have a presence in Australia, it may be worth checking how accessible they are to you?
Happy Easter Ann and thanks again

jennerous says:

Thank you Marina, you’ve caught something of the magic that happens in shared reading groups. Wonderful

Marina says:

Thank you! Sounds like you’ve been there to experience it for yourself, when these moments happen, they can resonate for a long time and become a wonderful resource

Tony Clelford says:

A wonderful evocation of a place Marina – and of a person. Thank you.

And if you’re the same Marina Sanchez I knew, get in touch.

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