A piece of fabric with writing on it

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A puzzle with a picture of a person in a blue shirt

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Artist’s Statement: Both these pieces are about the experience of my father’s dementia. I create visual poems like these because sometimes words are not enough. I believe complex experiences and emotions (as caring for my father at this time was) are better conveyed using multimedia. My work blurs poetry and conceptual art but, for me, the process of making is as important, if not more so, than the finished result.

THIEF was written in anger at all that Alzheimer’s took away from my dad. The words are laid out in a spiral that reflects both the Kawandi quilting technique I chose as well as the spiralling effect of the disease. Fabrics are deliberately chosen to reflect aspects of my dad’s life, e.g. astronomy and dogs, and the poem is framed by the ‘wings’ (corner pieces) made up of his favourite repeated sayings that now live on in younger generations. The edges are left deliberately to fray to echo the progress of the disease.

JIGSAW was written after my father’s death. I wanted to express something about the gaps in the brain, the connections that Alzheimer’s destroy, and am incomplete jigsaw seemed an obvious metaphor. Putting it together was much more painful than I expected and the poem that I wrote out of that expresses my longing to regain the father I remembered.

Liz Manning

Liz Manning was born in London, brought her family up in Hampshire, and now lives in Cornwall. She used to be an occupational therapist, specialising initially in mental health and later in palliative care. She recently graduated from the University of Plymouth with an MA in Creative Writing and now writes full-time. She has had work published in INK, Merry Christmas Everybody, Plymouth Art Vending Machine, and The Jesse Tree Anthology. She performs at local poetry nights and is involved in organising the Looe Festival of Words. More of her work can be found at

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