All posts filed under: Creating in the Time of COVID 19

COVID Hands by Christine Deynaka

Worry.  Don’t write.  Pace.  Try to write. Obsessively scroll through COVID updates.  Avoid writing. Adopt a sourdough starter and name her “Lily”.  Make bread.  Write a few uninspired lines. Think of mortality. Update my will. Download calming music.  Start to write in spurts. Wallow in writer’s block with Corona (the good memories kind) and lime to escape corona (the bad memories kind).       COVID Hands Hands wrap Christmas gifts casually dine, shop, touch before your invisible invasion camouflaged by a crown  that strangles, ambushes  the frail, the carers, the social  retreating like prisoners stockpiling and sanitizing lonely hands that become wrung, wrought, red, raw tracing outbreaks, clusters, death hands gloved, sewing masks banging pots and pans punching down homemade bread isolated hands that yearn  but cannot hug

Creating in the Time of COVID 19

In May, we put out a submission call. Send us your work, we urged. Tell us how you’ve been writing your way through the pandemic. Show us what this moment means to you. Contributor Sarah Beauchamp asserts that “it is the misfits of the world, the artists, the poets, the writers, and the sensitive souls who have this unique ability to capture and reflect the state of the world through art and through language.” We see evidence of this here with a thoughtful, emotional collection of poems, art, even a personal essay based on an Instagram pandemic diary. As editors, we revelled in the opportunity to stare into the maw of these poems, witness the courage it takes to write them, and then for the poet to hurl them into the midst of this maelstrom.  We are reminded that this is the poet’s job – to allow, permit, and witness, and these poets are living it. Aside from the attention to cadence, rhythm, assonance and line, these poems are a true whispering of the heart’s …

Day 8, by Andisa Shayi

During this time the few words I’ve been able to muster have been representative of the profound sense of stagnation I’ve felt within myself and with my relationships in these past few weeks, and in general. When you have no time for anything writing can be a delicious escape, but now with all the time in the world, I’ve come to also see it as scary and a huge imposition on me, as if the words are now saying ‘show us what you’re capable of now that you have no more excuses’. I teeter constantly between shooing this away, and then welcoming it with open arms. Day 8 morbidly, you whisperwhen asked for silencerestless children fill their mouths withtheir forearms to kill the soundand almost choke on creased cotton sleeves What is there to do?I am high on the scent of this house.

Muffled Apocalypse Sounds, by Chantal Lunardi

A poetic reflection on writing in the time of COVID : Time I haveCreativity space equanimity?Unfruitful solitudeunceasing cerebral racketcontaminated possibly contagious.Not a cohesive worddown on paperor up on the screen. Maybe if I waitalone safe and kindsmiling perkingwashing my hands maybe This alienating distanceI am not designed forneither is the viabilityof going back to the incongruityof infinite impossibilities. I can’t. I was not designed for this world neither ParadisesWalled gardensGate communities.How grateful we areto live here and not there. But the wind tellsand the rain crieswhile the dark sky triesto hide what’s over the mountains Muffled Apocalypse Sounds Mixed feelings after a safe-semi-private session at the Kootenay Sound Healing Centre We bathe in gongsand thieves oil aromatherapy.Hearts and windows wide opendispelling our illusions of immunity. And the gongs went onwith tinkles and chimesand other cosmic sounds. Everyone looking not too welllooking better than how I feellooking better after the bells. We breathe beautyhealth and the divinityof what could be.   My heart attunes with the gongspainfully echoing the wails muffled over the fence.I hear the Minaret …

Pod Poems, by Josh Massey

In his introduction to Selected Poems of E.J. Pratt (1968), editor Peter Buithenhuis shares a startling revelation about Pratt’s poetry: “He was over thirty when the First World War broke out, and yet that cataclysmic event, which both made and killed many poets, seems to have left hardly a mark on his poetry.” (Buithenhuis, xxviii) This quote is of interest because it hints that a writer, even one who is considered the best of an era like the modernist Canadian poet E.J. Pratt was, isn’t obliged to engage with current events to satisfy their role as artist. In our day, while disease alters the course of history, many poets will write about other things. In my opinion, this seemingly oblivious attitude is quite healthy for art and society. When a writer does respond to the day’s big news, his/her work risks becoming trapped in time and thus difficult to appreciate as anything other than simply a record of how things were. And because interpretations of events change, these records could be marred with the popular …

2 Poems, by Leo Hepler

The pandemic has been a time of rejuvenation and discovery for me. It healed known cuts and let me notice new ones. I’m so thankful for these moments of clarity and self-realization, even if they only exist against a backdrop of tragedy. The galvanizing force of global racial justice protests has inspired me to reflect on my own privilege. I have profited from my white privilege in both subtle and overt ways, and am committing to educating myself to help dismantle the structures of inequality that are present within me and my communities. I want to send my thoughts to anyone who is struggling physically, mentally, or emotionally through this pandemic, and I hope these poems can provide some little solace.

“160 Days” and “Six Feet Like Oceans” by Jaryn Hollowink

It’s without question that we are all surviving a difficult moment in history right now. Historically, it is during times like these that art and creative release become more important than ever before. There is so much to say in turbulent moments like these, and there’s so much importance in saying what needs to be said. The poem “160 Days” was created from the reflections I wandered into during the course of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. It’s a conceptual poem that draws its inspiration from Anne Simpson’s “The Triumph of Death” and Pieter Bruegel’s painting of the same name. Bruegel’s painting was created in 1562 and depicted a timeless landscape of war, death, and destruction. Anne Simpson took the imagery found in his painting and used it as fuel to create a striking poem depicting the modern catastrophe of 9/11, and to make a commentary on the cyclical nature of human suffering. I wanted to follow that same path in order to highlight these new modern atrocities that we are living now. There has …

An Anxious Introvert’s Guide to Staying Home, by Hailey Viers

I graduated from the ceramics studio at KSA in December 2019, and having no plans for after that, crashed hard. I was starting to pick myself up a bit when lockdown went into effect in BC. Markets to sell my pottery at were cancelled. I was already unemployed. Job hunting was redundant. Instagram became a channel for my anxieties – my account has turned into a blog of life and garden updates, self-care tips as tested, and art DIYs using whatever I have on hand. My audience is small but invaluable – mostly family and friends. In the last few months, they’ve seen stories on everything from hula hooping to how to fold a fitted sheet. AN ANXIOUS INTROVERT’S GUIDE TO STAYING HOME Reflections on Instagram captions of COVID-19 TIP #1: PUT SOME PANTS ON Starting with the bare minimum today.             I’d spent January to March slowly dragging myself out of a winter depression fog. Crying a lot and bouncing between counselling appointments and job hunting. But things were looking up. I’d dusted off …

“Know Justice, Know Peace,” by Stephanie Henriksen

I spent the first two months of quarantine in Nelson (an ideal place to be during a pandemic) and then decided to visit my family in Vancouver. My intention was to stay isolated at my parents’ house, but that changed when I watched the news on May 25. I wrote this poem immediately after attending a peaceful protest against police brutality, sparked by the murder of George Floyd. There have been too many innocent lives lost throughout human history in Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities. The Black Lives Matters movement was formed seven years ago and yet the tipping point is now. Black Americans are three times more likely than white Americans to be killed by the police. Recent human rights violations have jolted people out of isolation. People who have never spoken up before are finally doing so, endangering themselves and others, to fight for human equality. It is a scary and important time. I wish I was more active in the past. Why did it take me until now to write this poem? I promise …

STORM in the Streets by Kim Robinson

In addition to running like my life depends on it, I have found writing, as well as singing, dancing, colouring, gardening, and other creative pursuits, to be what I turn to first during difficult times. Both creating and consuming art has been a huge part of my Covid-19 experience, in part because I suddenly have so much more time for it. But probably more importantly because art, specifically writing, helps me process the myriad of confusing, new and scary realities of our world, and consuming it makes me feel less alone. During this pandemic I have found myself sea sawing between deep apathy and hyper productivity. This poem was inspired by a massive weather event a few weeks ago, the killing of George Floyd and the protests in the United States, and of course the pandemic. 

3 Poems by Sarah Beauchamp

As the world slowly “comes to life” once again, I want to acknowledge the collective global transformation we have all just experienced—an experience unlike anything we could have ever imagined, a world almost stranger than the fiction that we write. I strongly believe that it is the misfits of the world, the artists, the poets, the writers, and the sensitive souls who have this unique ability to capture and reflect the state of the world through art and through language. At the micro level, this experience gave me time to pause and reflect. I was able to pay closer attention to the world around me. In this time, I was able to appreciate the beauty that exists in the little things, however, I was also given an opportunity to open my eyes to some of the ugliness too. I chose to use this time to document both. These three poems were written in response to the numerous injustices that occur daily against BIPOC and in defence of the folks on the frontlines who are using …

“In Hand” by Bryan Semeniuk

One idea that’s fascinated me during COVID is the recurring feeling of reaction that I’ve seen rumbling through all spheres of life.  I’ve been witness to how our collective reactions and subsequent actions can run together just as easily as they can run against each other (in some cases towards solidarity and union, support and compassion; in other cases splintering apart, spreading fear and confusion).  One certainty is that this barrage of analytic and anecdotal information, thanks in large part to the mass flux that is the internet, has fundamentally affected us all.  An echoing sentiment during the pandemic has been that we are in ‘unprecedented times’ and that ‘no one person or group has the answers’.  In a moment of so much constant motion it can be difficult to hold onto a grounded perspective.  As a result of this collective uncertainty we’ve each been forced to look to each other’s ‘approaches for direction like one organism made up of countless animate and inanimate bodies, all in constant reaction to each other—stars in a night …