Joel Savishinsky (Anthropology) Publishes Article on Aging and Poetry, Incorporating Student Haiku


Contributed by Joel Savishinsky

A recent issue of the NEWSLETTER OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND GERONTOLOGY carried an article by Joel Savishinsky, entitled "Learning The Lessons of A Holocaust."

The essay describes an experiment he has been trying in his "Aging and Culture" course for anthropology and gerontology students. Class members have been reading May Sarton's novel AS WE ARE NOW, and exploring their own experiences as visitors, volunteers, interns and staff in nursing homes. In Sarton's book, the central character decides to burn down a dehumanizing geriatric facility she has been placed in. Students were asked to write haiku on the theme: "Did she have the right to do it?" The article incorporates the poems of some 20 IC students, and examines the values, perceptions and judgments expressed in their writing. A short version of the article was presented at October's annual conference of the State Society on Aging of New York.