In January, when I started revisiting collections for #mypoetrybookshelf, I never imagined that my life would utterly change just three months later. In March, one of my students tested positive for Covid-19 and I went into self-isolation for two weeks. My university teaching moved swiftly online, my husband could no longer work and our busy social lives became Zoom meetings where we talked, mostly, about our worries. Thankfully my student has recovered and I am still without symptoms, but the wider worries about the world remain. With all that has happened, it is no surprise that posts like these have taken a backseat.
Although this post has taken longer to write, the actual revisiting of poetry collections has carried on. I am, usually, not a fan of routine. Although I enjoy waking up early and love having regular classes as a university lecturer, I thrive on doing different things at different times each day — meetings, marking, writing, reading, walking, etc. However, in the last six weeks so much has been uncertain and frightening about the world that having routines has really helped me.
Everyday I eat breakfast with a book for this project — these poetry collections are familiar but I get to (re)discover the poems as I read. And, of course, I am now reading poems anew through the lens of the pandemic. For instance, this Tania Hershman poem from her collection, Terms and Conditions, has taken on a whole new meaning for me in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.
In fact, this poem spoke so clearly to me that I decided to read it as part my Sofa Share Wales video on ‘Uplifting Poems‘. I’d love to hear what poems, new or revisited, have been getting you through these hard times. Please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on social media.
This rereading routine has helped me feel normal and grounded in the long days of social isolation and social distancing. I’ll do my best to keep posting short round-ups (like this one) every month highlighting the books I chose to revisit. Honestly, though, I’m not sure this will be possible — let’s see what the rest of the year has in store. For now, please enjoy these photos of the 31 poetry collections I reread in March.
If you’d like to read the poems I selected this year already please head over to @writetoempower on Twitter or Instagram. You can follow the hashtag on both platforms (#mypoetrybookshelf) and even post any poems that you are currently rereading. Until next time, happy reading and stay safe!