DERRY - Parkland Medical Center's Oncology and Hematology Center will offer a poetry workshop to help newly diagnosed cancer patients, cancer survivors and caregivers process the cancer experience through poetry by tapping into the healing power of words.

"Prickly Pear Poetry Project: Processing the Cancer Experience Through Poetry" will be held on Wednesday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the hospital's new Oncology and Hematology Center at the Overlook Medical Park, 6 Tsienetto Road in Derry.

The workshop will be facilitated by two local poets: Kyle Potvin of Derry and Tammi Truax of Portsmouth, both affected by cancer - one as a caregiver and one as a survivor. This two-hour workshop will include the reading of cancer-influenced poetry from authors such as Jane Kenyon, Donald Hall, Susan Deborah King and more. Participants will be encouraged to compose their own poetry through writing exercises. No previous writing experience is required and sharing of work at the end of the session is optional.

"Tammi and Kyle provide a unique way to cope with the effects of cancer," said Barbara Umansky, oncology social worker at Parkland.

Both have experienced first-hand the healing power of poetry and want to share this valuable emotional outlet with others affected by cancer. Truax cared for and lost, both her husband and mother to cancer while raising two young children. Potvin is a two-year breast cancer survivor who underwent chemotherapy treatment at Parkland Medical Center.

The name of the workshop comes from one of Potvin's poems, "The New Normal," which describes two young boys who are so excited by the sprouting of their cactus plant that they are oblivious to their mother's joy at seeing new hair growth after cancer treatment.

Truax poetry has appeared in The Poet's Touchstone, The 2008 Poet's Guide to New Hampshire, and a cancer poetry anthology, Alternatives to Surrender.

Participants can register in advance by calling Barbara Umansky at Parkland's Oncology and Hematology Center at 537-2060, ext.4023.

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