Her current work is inspired by her father’s tragic experiences in the elderly care system. A “brilliant man”, he developed Parkinson’s disease in his early sixties and eventually entered a nursing home. There, a series of shocking events occurred, culminating in Dr. Holland-Batt testifying on his behalf at the Royal Commission on the Quality and Safety of Elderly Care. âThe elderly care system is broken and it will not be magically fixed without community and political will,â she said.
She explained the connection between her advocacy and her writing: âPoetry can help foster empathy and understanding towards older people,â she said. “A poem can let a listener or reader get into a busy moment, they can feel like they are hearing someone’s intimate thoughts or experiences.”
Although aging is more prominent in popular consciousness, she believes the stigma persists. âMost people are moved by stories like my father’s, but they still can’t imagine it happening to them,â she said. Through her lyrical verses, she hopes to help bridge this gap. âA poem is something you can read in one sitting – and it’s an immersive experience,â she said. âA poem can offer a moment of calm contemplation, a little escape. And it can put you in closer touch with the lives of others, including those whose experiences may initially seem distant from your own. “
The academic director of the Charles Perkins Center, Professor Stephen Simpson, who designed the residency, said: âThe generosity of our donor and patron Judy Harris has enabled us to welcome another writer in 2021. The program, which began in 2016, has been transformational, both for writers and for the Charles Perkins Center community.
âWe thank the applicants for this year’s residency. These were another extraordinarily wealthy group of applicants, which made the task of the Selection Board both challenging and exhilarating.