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Karin De Novellis

Karin De Novellis worked in mental health and now writes to support those living with dementia. In Oct 2023, her poem ‘The Fall’ was shortlisted for the King Lear Poetry…

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Karin De Novellis has worked as a speech and language therapist, singer, teacher and counsellor, always preoccupied with the sharing of human experience through the spoken word. In Oct 2023, her poem ‘The Fall’ was shortlisted for the King Lear Poetry Prize in the UK.

For six years Karin cared for her husband who lived with dementia. The poems in the collection, Closing Time at the Kings Head, express some of the feelings experienced in the care partnership.

At public readings of poems, the response was extremely strong, with listeners often sharing their own stories of family members and friends living with dementia. Karin’s background in mental heath made her realise the potential for healing in the poems. She is currently piloting and writing the content for Kick Off With a Verse, a handbook for mental health professionals working with unpaid carers in the field of dementia.

According to Dementia Australia, there are currently 135,000 people living with all forms of dementia. This figure is projected to increase to more than 260,000 by 2058. This subject is relevant and will surely touch us all in some way.

Kick off with a Verse presents the poems with comprehensive guidance for the group facilitator. It is intended that through reading and discussing the poems, participants of carer support groups will find peer support and community; have the opportunity to reflect on themselves and their own lives; learn how to reduce stress; and be pleasantly surprised by connecting with their own creativity through the written word.

The poems inspired the composer Ross Fiddes to create Closing Time, a dramatised song cycle for soprano and baritone, piano and narrator. This was premiered in Newcastle NSW in September 2023 and was performed in London in November 2023. It is an impactful piece, bringing home some of the challenges of living with dementia but also speaking of the the love and compassion there can be in the care partnership.

Karin De Novellis

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