Rita Bourland’s Illustrated Poem ‘Gather in the Wonder’

Here is a beautiful, uplifting poem by Ohio writer Rita Bourland, illustrated by a gorgeous photograph by Lisa Berg. Here is what Rita had to say about their collaboration:

“Most of my work combines poetry with artwork or photography. My friend, Lisa Berg, took an incredible photo of the moon on August 4, 2020 and shared it with me for my birthday. She and I have collaborated before, so I asked if I could write a poem to go with the photo.
“I found, during the pandemic, that my writing tended to focus on global connectedness. In this case, it happened to be the moon linking us all together. My own worries and egocentric thoughts dissolved into the wonder of our universe and the fact that every human was going through this difficult time together – all under the same moon.”
You can also read this poem in this accessible PDF:  Gather in the Wonder.

corbin t. lanker’s Poetry Film ‘A New Year’

Here’s another Ohio submission, this time a poetry film by corbin t lanker. corbin is a nonbinary person, currently a student of earth sciences at the Ohio State University. They like to write poetry and paint in order to process feelings. This poetry film is a meditation based on thoughts on New Year’s Eve 2020 – the movement from one COVID year to another. corbin says:”I hope you enjoy my work, a whole bunch of my poetry is at“.

Kathie Houchens’ Poem ‘Breath’

An Ohio resident since 1976, Kathie Houchens is a poet, artist, and an explorer of nature. She writes as a  way to stay grounded, to distill experience, and to see with new eyes. Kathie co-authored Around the Table: Poems by Four Women with Anna Soter.

In her poem, ‘Breath,’ Kathie processes the emotional stress that we all faced during the pandemic, and she finds solace in nature – in the trees!

You can also find the poem in this MS Word accessible document: Breath.

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.