Naomi Foyle’s Poem ‘Ghazal: Touch Me’

For our next international contribution, we have Naomi Foyle, a British-Canadian poet, science fiction novelist and essayist based in Brighton, UK. Her poetry publications include The Night Pavilion (Waterloo Press), an Autumn 2008 Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and Adamantine (Red Hen/Pighog Press, 2019). For her poetry and essays about Ukraine, she won the 2014 Hryhorii Skovoroda Prize.
Naomi’s poem ‘Ghazal: Touch Me’ is a moving ode to the sense of touch, something very much missed in these times of social distancing.
You can also access the poem in this MS Word accessible document: Ghazal Touch Me.

Sue Dymoke’s ‘Out of Time’

Here’s another international poem. The poet Sue Dymoke lives in Nottingham, UK and is an Associate Professor at Nottingham Trent University where she leads Young Poets’ Stories, a research project exploring young people’s poetry writing development. Her third full collection, What They Left Behind, was published by Shoestring Press in 2018.

Sue’s poem ‘Out of time’ counts the days of the COVID pandemic with all its surreal twists and turns.

You can also access this poem in this accessible MS Word document: Out of time by Sue Dymoke.

Jonathan Ukah’s poem ‘Something Else’

Alongside our Ohio poets, we also have some room for international contributors. Jonathan Ukah was born in Nigeria but nationalised in Germany. A graduate of English at the University of Nigeria, he studied German Law, but lives and works in London, UK. Jonathan’s poem, ‘Something Else,’ was written at the height of the pandemic in 2020, and he vividly outlines the toll of actually dealing with the illness – the toll on our bodies, the toll on medical staff, and the toll on our sense of safety.

You can also find this as a MS Word accessible document here: Something Else by Jonathan Ukah.

Carynne Spalding Jarrell’s poem ‘ADHD exacerbated’

Carynne Spalding Jarrell wrote this poem during a sleepless pandemic night. In writing about the experience of ADHD during the pandemic, Carynne wanted to say that she hopes people seek help if needed, no matter their age, job or any other potential stigmas. She also wanted to share the link to SLDS for Ohio State Students, and to highlight that there is a new CARES act funding for mental health at the Ohio State University. Carynne is a currently Master of Public Administration Student at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and enjoys writing.


Also see this accessible document in MS Word: ADHD exacerbated


Michaela Dengg’s Instagram poems about the Pandemic

Here’s an interesting pandemic project from Michaela Dengg, originally from Germany, but now a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at The Ohio State University. Her research interest lies with the intertwinement of internationalization and social justice. Her poems, which she writes under the pseudonym Mariam, a moniker of her first and middle name, frequently deal with the tension between the notions of “home” and “home far away from home”.

Also see this accessible document in MS Word: Poetry by Michaela Dengg.

Travis McClerking’s Poem ‘The Other Shoe’

Where do we find our models of perseverance and endurance? Travis McClerking‘s poem ‘The Other Shoe’ offers one such model. Travis is a Sophomore at OSU majoring in English. He was introduced to poetry through competitive slams. He continues to develop his craft in open mics held at Kafe Kerouac. His high school teacher Dr. Sidney Jones and the Columbus native, Hanif Abdurraquib, are his biggest influences.

Also see this accessible version in word document: The Other Shoe.



Angela Acosta’s Poem ‘Life on Hold’

One thing that we have had to come to terms with during the pandemic is putting life on hold. In this poem, Angela Acosta pinpoints the frustrations that we put up with so that we can protect the lives of others.

Angela Acosta is a PhD student in Iberian Studies at The Ohio State University. She returned to writing poetry in English and Spanish during the pandemic to document her experiences and write alongside the Spanish women writers whose creative lives she uncovers in her research.

Also access it here in a MS Word accessible document: Life On Hold.

Dalal Shalash’s Poetry Film of Maya Angelou’s ‘Caged Bird’

This wonderful poem by Maya Angelou is still as relevant today as when it was first published, and this is a moving poetry film that elaborates on the themes of freedom articulated by Angelou. Dalal Shalash is from Cincinnati, Ohio and is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (pre-law) with a minor in Spanish. Dalal’s  dream job is to become an immigration lawyer and work for a non-profit.

Jessica Winter’s poem ‘COVID’

One of the main experiences of this pandemic has been uncertainty, and this feeling is reflected by this poem by Jessica Winter which is full of questions. Shaped like a droplet of liquid, the form of the poem reminds us that our set of questions is just one drop in an ocean of doubt and uncertainty.

Dr. Jessica Winter is a Professor in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University. She has been writing poetry since childhood, and has been recognized by the Southern Poetry Association. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Texas.

Also see this accessible version in word document: Jessica Winter’s poem COVID.