Pandemic Blues….Again

As a contributor to the recently published anthology A 21st Century Plague: Poetry from a Pandemic, edited by Elayne Clift and published by University Professors Press (UPP), I’ve participated in several virtual readings recently . 

As I write this blog post today on August 9, I am struck by the drastic change in mood, for me personally as well as for my fellow contributors (and of course for many others), in just slightly over a month’s time. 

The first reading, hosted by UPP, took place on June 30, 2021, in celebration of the anthology’s release. At that time, our mood “on the screen” was close to euphoric; not only because of this book’s publication, but also due to a profound sense of relief. With vaccinations in arms, we looked forward to a summer safe from the fears and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic that had held us hostage for over a year. July 4th was less than a week away, and our President assured us it would be safe to gather with friends and family and enjoy a traditional Independence Day celebration that day. 

Fast forward to the July 29th virtual reading hosted by Broadside Books. Though the program had the same intent —to share a sampling of poems from the same anthology with a virtual audience of friends, family and other guests —the mood had drastically changed. 

In just five+ weeks, the Delta variant had appeared, posing a new threat to ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors, and we were frightened, angry, confused and disappointed.

In our poems, we contributors had shared our lived experience of the pandemic through the nerve-wracking months of 2020 and early 2021. But how disappointing for us as we read that no longer did our words reflect the past, but rather issued an omen instead! Now, as we read these same poems, the resurgence of the virus’s terrorizing threat brought on a somber mood that overshadowed the joy we’d hoped to share that evening.

On August 30th, I’ll be participating in my third reading of the summer. Also virtual, this one is hosted by the LAVA Center of Greenfield. Only one short month from the last one, with trepidation I wonder what the mood will reflect on that evening.

Links to:

  • Book release on June 30th

2 thoughts on “Pandemic Blues….Again

  1. Thank you so much for this Stephanie. Not only because it raises awareness about our book but because it captures the way so many of us are feeling as we face the growing challenge of a terrible virus that so many are holding us hostage to by adamantly resisting the best way to end the pandemic. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stephanie,

    Thank you for the timely blog post. I’m sure it gets at what many of us are feeling now. I believe it was Sandra Larson who said during discussion after the first reading from the book that we were entering uncharted waters likely to be at least as strange as where we’d been in 2020. Events seem to be bearing that out. Stranger and stranger. I hope we’ll all keep writing and recording and imagining as we pass through this storm. I’m very grateful for the poems in the anthology helping us navigate together.

    Liked by 1 person

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