On September 30, I reviewed Donna G. Humphrey's book of poetry, I Speak of Simple Things (Ampersand, Inc., 2007) on my other blog, "Write your Life!" Donna Humphrey, the 89-year-old mother of a federal judge in Chicago, is sometimes remembered as the victim, along with the judge's husband, of a horrible murder in 2005. Mrs. Humphrey's daughters Joan Humphrey Lefkow and Judith Humphrey Smith discovered her poetry in drawers and closets after her death and published this book as a tribute to her.
My "Write your Life!" is a blog designed to promote the writing of life stories, and reading this book made me realize that poetry is a very useful medium for telling such stories, as it obviousy was in Donna Humphrey's case.
On yesterday's Today Show, Matt Lauer interviewed Joan Lefkow and Judy Smith about the book, and the interview underscores the importance of leaving one's thoughts, experiences, and memories behind. The family had realized that Mrs. Humphrey wrote frequently during her later years, even feeling guilty when she didn't take time to write, but they were surprised at the extensiveness of her poems and by all the things they revealed: her enjoyment of nature, her concerns about aging, her feelings about family. These poems present a picture of a real person, well worth remembering.
For a video of the Today Show interview, go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21297994/
To read my review, go to http://seniormemoirs.blogspot.com/2007/09/telling-life-stories-through-poetry.html