Skip to main content
Parkinson's & Poetry

Parkinson's & Poetry

By NW Parkinson's
Every week in April 2020, tune in to celebrate National Poetry & Parkinson's Awareness Month with a poem from the NW Parkinson's community. Featuring local Northwest poets, artists & therapists. Side-effects from poetry may include: improvements in speech, cognition, mood, connection & more. Submit your poems and read them at
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


A Quilt of Voices with Mari & the Women Affected by Parkinson's
Food, family, stuffed animals still keeping us company: in this episode, Mari recites the poems written with her fellow Women Affected by Parkinson's of Spokane, WA. She speaks to the everyday bravery of the group, the ways they support each other through their journeys with Parkinson's. Not to mention the laughter! Hear from Mari about her own experience through diagnosis and community, including her advice for those newly diagnosed, and her commitment to continuing her cultural, particularly food, heritage.
May 05, 2020
"Make Her Heard": Poetry by Janice Holland-Hill read by her daughter, Kate
Janice Holland-Hill shared her poem, "The Road", with the NW Parkinson's community: now her daughter, Kate, walks us through it. We learn how dynamic a person Jan is, from writing to sheet music, to energizing Kate with tasks of creativity. Jan's young-onset diagnosis of Parkinson's shapes their family's lives; in this episode, we step into the pain as well as the beauty of those changes. For Bette Jane's part, she looks forward to one day finding a book of poems by Janice Holland-Hill.
May 02, 2020
The Poem Takes Charge: Gary & Rubye Vallat
When weighed down, what lifts us? Poetry can sometimes be that antigravity, that "outward expression of an inner being", as Gary Vallat puts it. In 2019, Gary published a book of poems called "There is a Lightness in the Telling"; this conversation reveals why, and illuminates something at once familiar, light-hearted, and sacred about 'telling'. Tune in to hear original poetry by Gary, and for his wife and carepartner Rubye Vallat's profoundly helpful thoughts on life amid COVID-19. There's even more: Gary's daughter and filmmaker, Aimie Vallat, created "Present Moment", a short film that documents Gary and his family's day-to-day dance with Parkinson's. You can view the film here! You can also purchase a copy of Gary's book of poems here!
April 28, 2020
Bud + Sis: Researching Parkinson's & Poetry
Who is scientific research meant for? Bette Jane Camp wanted to know the rhyme and reason behind hard-to-find and inaccessible research on Parkinson's. So, she invited her Master's-seeking brother, Jamie Camp, to discuss the nature of scientific journals, peer-reviewed articles, and the academic community's latest on Parkinson's. In our longest episode yet, they find the poetry in one of Jamie's favorite songs and in the extra effort that all kinds of writing ask of us.  
April 25, 2020
Why We Show Up Each Day: Jordan Reads "The Apple Orchard" by Marjorie Laughlin
Jordan Whitley is our Community Engagement Manager with arguably the best laugh around the NW. A graduate of the University of Washington's Master of Social Work program, she works passionately with people impacted by Parkinson's in the NW to bring the classes, conferences, and local resources to those who need them. In this episode, Jordan reads "The Apple Orchard" by Marjorie Laughlin with lichened elegance. Jordan and Bette Jane chat about what it means to be a poet [AKA attentive] as well as why we show up each day with the NW Parkinson's community. 
April 21, 2020
Social Work, T. & the NW Parkinson's Community, ft. "Icicle Creek (Still Life)" by Marjorie Laughlin
T. Christopher Crandall is a baritone, and a dedicated, soon-to-be Master of Social Work through the University of Washington. In 2018, T. serendipitously became involved with the NW Parkinson's community through his practicum work at Evergreen Hospital's Booth Gardner Parkinson's Care Center in Kirkland, WA. Since then, T. has been instrumental in providing social support to people impacted by Parkinson's in the Northwest. He also reads poetry with total brilliance. Listen to his take on "Icicle Creek (Still Life)" by community member and poet Marjorie Laughlin. NOTE: T. and Bette Jane recorded this episode in early March, before COVID-19 isolation measures were taken. There are some background noises from our colleagues. 
April 15, 2020
Taking Chances with Marjorie Laughlin
If you've read Marjorie Laughlin's "Icicle Creek (Still Life)" or "The Apple Orchard" on Parkinson's & Poetry, you might assume she's been writing for decades. In fact, as she shares in this conversation, it was a pretty recent sunset that moved Marjorie to poetry. She took a chance. Listen in to learn what poetry has meant for her, and for life with Parkinson's. You can find her lovely book of poems, "I Loosed My Father's Boots", on Amazon.
April 10, 2020
Announcement & One of Bette Jane's Favorite Poets
We are all in this together. Originally, the NW Parkinson's staff and volunteers set out to read community members' poems every day in April. We've had to revise that to every week: as everyone does their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our team has all hands on deck in providing crucial services to people impacted by Parkinson's. If you or someone you know in the NW can use FREE supportive services to navigate Parkinson's-related challenges, please feel free to contact NW Parkinson's Master's-level social workers toll-free at 1.877.980.7500 or As a small and mighty independent nonprofit, we can use your help, too: you can support our work by donating at - Let's keep writing! 
April 07, 2020
When the Personal is Universal: Judy & Steve Wood
Nearly 20 years ago this winter, Judy Wood moved down her frozen street with full attention. She noticed, and noted. It's now spring of 2020 and her son, Steve, leads us into that moment, entitled "December 2000". An artist, mother, wife, retired nurse, and woman living with Parkinson's: tune in to this episode to learn about Judy and her son, including his reading of "December 2000". You can find Judy's poem and some of her artwork at
April 03, 2020
Pam Squared: Finding Poetry in Life with Parkinson's
Pam Walker and Pam "Pinky" Reeve share a first name, a room-altering sense of style, and over fifty years of friendship. They remained close while Pinky lived around the country, and they became even stronger together when Pam was diagnosed with Parkinson's. These two women have been dedicated to their NW Parkinson's community over the last four years. In this episode, the Pams discuss the convivial weave of their lives; they also give a lovely reading of "Afternoon on a Hill" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Listen in to hear from NW Parkinson's own Community Stewardship Officer & Board Member, Pam Reeve & Pam Walker.
March 31, 2020
Limericks In Lieu of the Pub
For many of us, St. Patrick's Day 2020 celebrations were curtailed by our regional, national, and nearly global effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We found a way to keep the holiday afloat: NW Parkinson's community members Terry Harrigan and Bette Jane Camp chatted over the phone about limericks, Ireland, and, oddly enough, Canada. Terry even constructs a new hybrid poetic form based on our findings. Listen in for a timely limerick by Peter Beidler, as well as some non-history with Terry and Bette Jane. *We experienced some technical difficulties so please forgive the sound quality
March 24, 2020
Parkinson's = Creativity? Haiku with Renee LeVerrier
What is poetry? How does life with Parkinson's actually make room for creativity? Renée Le Verrier takes on these questions and offers her own experience with P&P. We'll also feature some of Renee's own haiku that she keeps in a little purple bag, for whenever the moment calls for a poem. Renée Le Verrier is an artist, poet, certified yoga instructor & online educator for NW Parkinson's. Check out her website here and find her yoga and new art classes at!
February 20, 2020
Poem Talk: Casey at the Bat
Fact-check: when did baseball, the American pastime, first become a sport? Send in your answer and source(s) to and we'll share them on this podcast! Poem Talk features conversations about different poems read and recorded on Parkinson's & Poetry. In this episode, the readers of "Casey at the Bat" discuss (and digress) the history of baseball and their family's associations with music-as-poetry. A Bill Murray reference wraps up the chat.
February 13, 2020
Camps at the Bat
BetteJane and her sister, Maggie, joined their dad for a group reading of his favorite poem, Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Check out the bonus episode to hear them discuss the poem, song lyrics as poetry, and more!
February 12, 2020
A Bird in the Office with Terry Harrigan & Jordan Whitley
NW Parkinson’s own Jordan, Terry & Bette Jane kick off Parkinson’s & Poetry with meter and rhyme. Who better to guide us than Emily Dickinson?
February 12, 2020