Reflecting to Live

Chemotherapy forced Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg into early menopause, and surviving the cancer dictated the removal of her breasts. As the poet laureate of Kansas faced these harsh realities, she thought a lot about what it means to be alive. Her new book, The Sky Begins at Your Feet, follows her painful journey. “It’s a memoir about cancer, community and coming home to the body,” Mirriam-Goldberg says. “But it’s also an example of narrative medicine — how the stories we tell about health and illness can have a great impact on how we live with health and illness.” That concept is the basis for a series of events organized by Mirriam-Goldberg today and Sunday at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire, 785-843-2787). The poet will lead a memoir-writing workshop today from 1 to 3 p.m. At 3:30, she’ll shift her attention to the opening reception of Working Recovery: Reflected Visions of Healing, an art show curated by Carol Ann Carter. On Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m., a forum of artists, health professionals, cancer survivors and alternative healers will discuss the importance of narrative medicine. A book party — honoring Mirriam-Goldberg’s new works and her survival — will follow from 7:30 to 9 p.m. All events are free.

Fri., Oct. 16; Sat., Oct. 17, 2009