Thirty, three-line haiku poems, each set in a large clear font on its own page in a small booklet (approx 4 “ X 6”). The cover is a tender watercolor of a spring scene by an artist identified as Jackie.

Like all haiku, the evocative phrases celebrate ordinary life, seasonal wonder, and memories of family, gardens and home cooking: “rain on the window / happy smiles / and home made cookies.” The juxtaposition of some fragments produces a startling resonance: “last kiss / takes in a lot of territory / even in Saskatchewan.” Humour and wisdom are keenly felt: “tom boy / town boy / luxury farmer”.


The authors of these haiku --the Soul Session Poets--are people with dementia. Led by their Coordinator of Spiritual Care, Marjorie Woodbridge and poet Philomene Kocher, they were encouraged to articulate feelings sparked by seasonal objects brought to hour-long encounters called “soul sessions.” Their remarks were recorded on a flip chart and assembled into haiku with the participation of the whole group. Kocher used several such sessions as the research basis for her master’s thesis in Education, " 'Their Capacity to Delight': Knowing Persons with Dementia Through Haiku" (Queen’s U 2008). In this work, she describes the method, context, and palpable enjoyment of the group.

Reminsicent of the research of Anne Basting who has explored narrative in dementia care, this little book is a tribute to the resilience of emotional integrity, humour, and creativity in people with dementia. It also reminds us of the value of the arts in their care.


Copies are available through the Rideaucrest Home, 175 Rideau Street, Kingston ON  K7K 3H6;
tel (613) 530-2818 ext. 4252; Published with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Kingston and the collaborative support of the Alzheimer Society of Kingston. Ontario.


Digigraphics Kingston

Place Published

Kingston, Ontario



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