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Maine poet wins international prize for work about dementia

Associated Press logo Associated Press 4/28/2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine poet's endearing piece about her husband's dementia has won an international poetry award.

The Press Herald reports (http://bit.ly/2pF07pR ) that Lee Sharkey was presented with the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize for her poem, "Letter to Al", at an award ceremony in Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday. The Moth magazine sponsors the contest.

Sharkey and three other finalists were selected from thousands of entries. The Maine native was awarded 10,000 euros, or about $10,725.

Sharkey's piece details the effects of dementia on her husband, Al Bersbach, and their marriage.

The contest's lone judge describes the poem as "spellbinding".

Sharkey says that she was hesitant about writing the poem because she knew it would be painful. However, she says that it is an important narrative to share.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

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