I don’t read a lot of poetry, and I’m definitely not a poet. I have exactly one published poem, and that was pretty much a fluke (written for a contest, almost on accident ended up resonating with a certain moment in time, bla bla). I’d like to read more, but too often I find contemporary poetry to be somewhat hokey. Which I know is a broad and unfair generalization, but a lot of what is really popular, especially online, tends to make me cringe with the simplistic versions of emotional truth they put forth.
But I’m trying to challenge myself to read more widely, so I picked up this collection of contemporary poems at the library. I didn’t know anything about Gill or her work–not her viral fame, not the fact that this collection was about COVID-19, nothing.
Reader, I cried. Not only did I cry, but I sobbed my way through reading this. Yes, there were moments were the text felt overburdened with the need to Make A Point. Some of the poems, especially those that most directly addressed current events, did give me that urge to cringe. It’s just so earnest, you know? But others were so insightful and so emotionally gorgeous, and really spoke to me on a day when pandemic living felt especially hard.
Highly recommend, and now I want to continue the contemporary poetry challenge! What are your favorites–I’m looking to try some more!