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Q&A with Margaret Stawowy and Jim Cokas, editors of Storms of the Inland Sea: Poems of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving

Storms of the Inland Sea: Poems of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving, is an anthology edited by poets and former dementia caregivers Margaret Stawowy and Jim Cokas. The book can be purchased here or directly from the publisher.     

Did you have a goal or mission in mind when creating Storms of the Inland Sea: Poems of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving?

With this anthology, we aim to support and raise awareness for health providers and caregivers, past, present, and future, who battle each and every day. Caregiving is largely an equity issue as it is often underpaid or unpaid, within a system that ignores the struggles of families, workers, and most disheartening of all, those who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Also, no other published work has addressed the caregiving aspect of Alzheimer’s and dementia from the vantage point of poetry. This anthology is unique and long overdue.

Can you give some background about the featured poets in the anthology?

We’ve included many nationally recognized and respected poets with bios on the Poetry Foundation website and/or poets.org (Academy of American Poets). Other gifted writers from various walks of life have also participated, including a prison inmate, a physician, nursing home staff, ministers, professors, and of course, friends, sons and daughters, and husbands and wives.

Who should read this book?

Everybody! To quote Rosalynn Carter, “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Degenerative cognitive illnesses are not going away anytime soon. Storms of the Inland Sea is also intended to be a resource in the academic fields of medical humanities and narrative medicine.