Documenting Pandemic

Thanks to POPO participant Linda Clifton, I learned about an essay by in The New Yorker:

A key paragraph for me:

Are you keeping records of the e-mails and texts you’re getting, the thoughts you’re having, the way your hearts and minds are reacting to this strange new way of living? It’s all important. Fifty years from now, people the age you are now won’t believe this ever happened (or will do the sort of eye roll we all do when someone tells us something about some crazy thing that happened in 1970.) What will convince that future kid is what you are able to write about this, and what you’re able to write about it will depend on how much sharp attention you are paying now, and what records you keep.

This is part of why we launched our annual Poetry Postcard Fest (POPO) early. In fifty years who  is going to believe that a Fox News affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio, had a feature like:

Hopefully in 50 years there will not be a TV network like Fox News, which uses demagoguery to sew division and create profits out of human misery, but I digress. These are the kinds of things happening during this unprecedented Shelter-in-Place era. TV stations seeing as their duty to remind us WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS. Hopefully this is a gag to you and you have rituals which are keeping you sane. You might even be able to use this time to make changes in your life cognizant of the suffering happening in our world. Two tabs still active on my browser on COVID-19 are:

https://covidactnow.org/

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2020/health/coronavirus-us-maps-and-cases/

And what better way to get into a groove with one’s deep self by writing as much as possible? 31 postcards before August 31 is quite possible and you can get access to folks seeking to write more than that via POPO. 218 people have joined us so far by registering at Brown Paper Tickets. It’s a huge thing you can do for your own writing practice, your own sanity and for the little 26 year old non-profit org that dreamed all this up, not knowing that someday it would be one of the few literary festivals that would not be canceled due to a pandemic.  https://appf14.brownpapertickets.com/ It is SPLAB‘s largest annual fundraiser and if you can’t participate, maybe you know someone who might be interested. And in fifty years when someone doesn’t believe you, whip out a poetry postcard sent to you from a stranger.

May you & yours be well.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). www.POPO.cards He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: https://paulenelson.com/americanprophets/) has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com
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1 Response to Documenting Pandemic

  1. siggiofmaine says:

    I wish I was young enough to be here in 50 years to see what was recorded and how the analysis of all that happened is recorded and a part of history and “in the books”.
    .
    I have, since Maine’s mandates went into effect, March 16, been keeping a log of things to refer back to in a time line, and see how my writing reflects on what has happened.

    My thoughts below from my travel from home near Bar Harbor 8,000 people the census says
    to Bangor Maine.32,000 people.
    .
    Thank you for the thought provoking post…
    .
    travel to Big City
    ghost villages along the way
    sunny daffodils
    .
    Stephen King;s new art
    traffic lined the street to view
    social distancing

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