What is Poetry in the New World?
Every day I wake up, I hope that it’s all been a bad dream. But, I realize, it’s just another day in self-isolation, still, I find ways to make life inside normal. The antidote to all the lies, the fear, the hate, the unknown is my love of poetry. Every morning, I make my way to my office, in our two-bedroom apartment, and write. The titles of the poems that I’ve been writing reflect the new world we are living in: “I Am Still as Tender as Before,” “My Fingers Are Permanently Pruned” and “Love in the Time of Social Isolation.”
Our goal as poets is to not only reflect the times, we are living but also shine hope in these days of seclusion. We also need to inspire one another. One of my social media friends Sakshi Narula, @mssakshinarula on Twitter, tweeted a question, How Different Do You Think the World Will Be After Covid-19, that I turned into a poem. Here’s an excerpt:
but everyone, even
those once closer
to you, will ask for
an arm’s length of space,
handshakes no more,
embraces, even rarer
we will greet each other
with hands to hearts,
living long like Spock
to prosper hand finger
salute, with gloves
on each hand covering
the permanent blister
Not only must we write poems, but if you are poets like Jose Hernandez Diaz, Leila Chatti, Rosebud Ben Oni, Kim Vodicka, Ariel Francisco, Joanna C. Valente, Lisa Marie Basile, Dylan Krieger, Gris Muñoz, among so many others who’s book launch, readings and events have been postponed or canceled because of COVID-19. We must support each other, post links to your poet friend’s books, champion each other. Poets like @TaraSkurtu, on Twitter, have started #InternationalPoetryCircle where Tara is coordinating & recording & sharing poems while creating a space where poets can read and recite their work. So many poets are gathering to have readings, Leila Chatti, Dylan Kreiger among so many others have begun read their work online through Zoom and Instagram live. Speaking of readings, founder Lyndsay Hall is planning Virtual National Poetry Month at Sevilla Writers House. Starting this week, Hall is planning daily events, readings, one-on-one sessions, workshops and seminars as Sevilla Writers House is looking for poets to celebrate Poetry Month during the month of April. We need to get our voices out there for the world to feel, hear and experience our poems.
It’s our job to keep poetry alive. Damn the isolation, let us create more spaces for poetry to thrive. Fuck fear and let us find ways to share our voices, our poems, our books, our craft in a creative way. I know the world has changed and is changing every minute of every day. Let us use poetry to be the spark that lights up others who are consumed by darkness. We will be the flames, the candles and the fire, keep writing, reading, submitting and posting our work. This is a call to action, on and off the page, the world needs poetry, and we the poets will use our rhymes of hope, love and carnal lust to show them the way to more than survive, with our poems we will preserve. So,when they ask what did we do during the days of self-isolation? Let us reignite, explore and keep creating. Recite those poems. Share your work with others online. Use rhymes to keep hope thriving. All it takes is ink, a page, press down the key and yes life has changed, we will inspire others using our art of poetry, continue to craft, let us all proclaim!
Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of the full-length poetry collection Flashes & Verses… Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, the poetry chapbook So Many Flowers, So Little Time from Red Mare Press. Between the Spine is a collection of erotic love poems published with Picture Show Press and La Belle Ajar, a collection of cento poems inspired by Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel, published in 2020 by CLASH Books.
Adrian is an LA Poet who has a BA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and he is also a graduate of the MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and their cat Woody Gold. You can connect with Adrian on his website: http://www.adrianernestocepeda.com/