Review: First aid for the spirit

Submitted by AWL on 13 April, 2020 - 8:43
Coronaverses cover

CoronaVerses: poems from the pandemic (see here) is a rapidly pulled together collection in a rapidly changing world. Collected over the course of a week after Janine Booth set up a CoronaVerses Facebook group, it was collated and released in just over a fortnight.

In a socially-distanced world this act of creating space for the looser, deeper observation poetry and other creative arts can make to our understanding of our present situation is important. If, like me, your eyes have been glued to the news, this book is a good opportunity to step back and think in a different way.

The collection touches on the shifting emotions many will be feeling, alternating from anger to a sense of endless torpor, to humour and sorrow as one poem flows into another.

Poems like “Siena” and “Human Touch” have a sense of being without ending and capture the listless feeling after life has shifted into the weird and frightening. “Hungry” relates the anxiety of trying to protect and provide for your children. “Viral Haiku” and “Tragedy: a haiku series” are vicious, witty and angry and “The List” carries anger over into laughter and mockery of the class enemy.

There is too much to go into great depth, but the breadth of the collection is an astounding feat, especially given the two-week time scale it was created in. Right now, in the rapid flow of feelings brought on by crisis and social distancing, poetry like this can be a first aid kit to the spirit.

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