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Community Meetings Writing the Journey

When:   Tuesday, March 26, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Where:   Cherry Hill Public Library
1100 Kings Highway North
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Registration is now closed. Check back in the Fall for more information on the next series.

Learn how to express and document your breast cancer journey during this six-part writing workshop series. Whether you are newly diagnosed, have completed active treatment, are years beyond your diagnosis or are living with metastatic breast cancer, Writing the Journey provides you with a safe and creative outlet for coping with your experience. No previous writing experience is necessary.

Each session will begin with some breathing and visualization exercises to center the group. Next, the series’ instructor, Alysa Cummings, will share poems—some written by women affected by breast cancer; some by well-known poets—as a way to trigger meaningful discussion and help generate original writing. Ms.Cummings will use graphics, objects and memoir excerpts to inspire participants to express themselves. She will also provide participants with prompts that motivate even the most reluctant writer to tell their story. The series will touch on various aspects of the breast cancer experience, such as: finding community in shared experience, making sense of the psychology of illness, exploring powerful emotions, establishing new priorities, and tuning into meaningful insights during the healing process. 

Personal writing can be shared with fellow group members, however this is not an expectation or a requirement! That’s a decision each participant is invited to make for herself. 

Some of the writers whose work will be showcased during our six-part writing series include: Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Bishop, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Alysa Cummings, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ellen Goldsmith, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad, Alice Hoffman, Cari Kastama, Alicia Ostriker, Rachel Naomi Remen, Karen Ritchie, Anne Silver, Anita Skeen, Susan Sontag and Joyce Sutphen.

About Our Speaker

Alysa Cummings is a breast cancer survivor, certified poetry therapist and founder of Pink Ribbon Poetry support group focusing on the power of writing to heal. She regularly publishes poetry therapy projects on the Oncolink website where she has been named Poet-in-Residence. 

Ms. Cummings reviews cancer-themed books and media for Oncolink and has started two Oncolink blogs: Greetings from CancerLand and CancerLand Bookshelf. Her writing has appeared in MAMM magazine, in Barbara Delinsky’s book, "Uplift," and most recently as a chapter in the book "Writing Away the Demons." 

In 2008 the National Association of Poetry Therapy gave Ms.Cummings their Public Service Award for her work with breast cancer survivors. In 2012 Ms. Cummings published a collection of her Oncolink writing in a book titled “Greetings from CancerLand: Writing the Journey to Recovery.”

This program is partially sponsored by a generous grant from the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.