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The Poetry of Everyday LifeStorytelling and the Art of Awareness$
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Steve Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702358

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702358.001.0001

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The AIDS Poets

The AIDS Poets

Living with Dying

Chapter:
(p.98) 9 The AIDS Poets
Source:
The Poetry of Everyday Life
Author(s):

Steve Zeitlin

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501702358.003.0010

This chapter looks at how poetry has been used to serve people with AIDS at the AIDS Day Treatment Program, located on West Twentieth Street in New York City. At the center, the wall leading to the cafeteria is lined with poems, many from poets who have passed away. According to Lila Zeiger, creative and social director, the poems show the shift in the city's AIDS population, from the gay men and drag queens who died in great numbers in the 1980s to the many African Americans and Latinos who succumbed to the disease in the 1990s. Lila, an accomplished, widely published poet herself, taught creative writing informally at the center for eighteen years, from the early 1990s until her retirement in 2000. Her goal was to help her clients express their pain and leave a legacy. Lila passed away in 2013 at the age of eighty-four. Her family chose to hold her memorial service at the AIDS Day Treatment Program.

Keywords:   poetry, people with AIDS, AIDS Day Treatment Program, New York City, poems, poets, Lila Zeiger, gay men, drag queens, creative writing

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