These extracts are from ‘Cage’, an integrated rhythmic sequence of prose and poetry centred on the lives and welfare of a community of demented elderly patients who inhabit a ward in an outdated asylum. The poetic material was obtained from the prose narrative using found techniques devised specifically for this project. These came out of intense questioning of the nature of the line in contemporary poetry. They delivered me into a nonlinear kinetic which suited my desire to intuit and reveal the disease processes and states of being of those afflicted by dementia. The non-hierarchical and inclusive nature of found procedures lent themselves well to an interrogation of the relationships between a vulnerable group and the medical establishment charged with its care.
[Dorothy Alexander completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow in 2006 having previously worked in the NHS for over twenty years. She won the Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short story award in 2002. She has just finished a research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh where the title of her project was ‘The Border Ballad into the twenty first century: applying experimental poetics to contemporary narratives in Borders Scots.’]
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