Book Review: Poetry and Dementia, by John Killick, published by Jessica Kingsley, 2018,
ISBN 9781785921766, £16.99
I was fortunate to hear John Killick’s address at the Breathing Space conference held at Snowdonia in November 2017. He began by talking about the fashion in contemporary poetry for obscure meaning and identified a trend towards more accessible, more natural writing, arguing that there is greater value in what has clarity of meaning. He allied himself with Peter Elbow’s approach to language and the application of speech to writing, as described in Peter’s book, Vernacular Eloquence. Indeed, he refers to Elbow’s work in his postscript in Poetry and Dementia, published by Jessica Kingsley, 2018, when he discusses the quality of the language of people with dementia, describing it as ‘the Poetry of Natural Speech’.