Mustafa Ilgin is in his first year at The Ohio State University studying Political Science, also in the International Affairs Scholars Program. Mustafa’s poetry film asks how do we care for ourselves after relationship difficulties, which many have suffered during the pandemic? The answer: self love!
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.
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.
Elizabeth Crump is a soon-to-be fourth-year Microbiology major at the Ohio State University. In reflecting on the past year, Elizabeth has found comfort and catharsis in writing about the everyday challenges she feels. This poem, written in the context of the current pandemic as well as Elizabeth’s impending application to medical school, contrasts passivity with activity in defining one’s actions in the face of trying conditions. Although the path may be unclear, one may find that by seeking within to create a way out of the uncertainty – be it that of the pandemic or of a new phase of life – success can be written in one’s own terms.
Please also find the poem in this accessible word document: Elizabeth Crump’s poem ‘5/15/21’.
One of the things that we have shared in during these difficult times has been a sense of loss. We have all lost so many people, so many things that made our lives make sense. One comforting thing is that we struggle together to deal with these losses. Molly Davis’ poem below uses snapshots of feelings and moments to tell us about loss and the particular challenges of loss during lockdown.
Molly Davis lives, works, and plays in Columbus, OH. Using humor and compassion, Davis makes sense of her life and the world around her by writing. These days, you can find her laughing in her kitchen, cooking for her family. She looks forward to cooking for friends again post-pandemic.
For many of us, pandemic times have forced to think about our family life, especially as many of us have been separated from the ones we love. Elizabeth Shneyderman’s poem, ‘strange token of ancestral determination,’ considers family legacies and what we carry forward with us.
Elizabeth Shneyderman is a second year honors student at the Ohio State University and is double majoring in Computer Science and Economics. She enjoys writing her free time as a creative outlet and is currently looking to become a software engineer after graduation.
Also please see this accessible word document her: ‘strange_tokens_of_ancestral_determination’.
Content warning: eating disorders.
During the pandemic, mental stresses have been very high. The loneliness and isolation of lockdown only exacerbate whatever problems we might struggle with already. Brynne Mosteller decided to write a poem about eating disorders, as a way of raising consciousness and fostering understanding/ An English and Music double major in her sophomore year at The Ohio State University, she lives in Green, Ohio with her parents and two cats. Brynne is planning to become a high school English teacher after graduation.
Also find an accessible word document version here: ‘Room No. 5151′ by Brynne Mosteller
Andrew Hoben is an honors student at the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, and this poster is an interpretation of one of his favorite poets, Robert Frost. The poem ‘Fire and Ice’ seems very prescient for recent catastrophic events, and in this new context, it demands that we consider how precarious the world is, forcing us to act before it is too late. Read the original poem here.
Although most of the poets here are from Ohio, we do have space for occasional pandemic poems from other US states and around the world. This poem by Jennifer Keevill takes a practical problem – the E string being missing from a violin. This becomes a metaphor for adaptation under pandemic conditions, and what emerges is a sensitive poem processing the many different emotions we have experienced in lockdown.
Jennifer Keevill lives in Devon, England. She has been published most recently inSarasvati, Poetry Salzburg Review and South Bank Poetry. Her poem ‘Exeter Interrupted’ was published in the anthology Places of Poetry (Oneworld Publications) in 2020. She is working on a poetry collection about life in a coastal community.
Also find this accessible word doc version of ‘My Year without an E String’
Civil rights issues have rightly been prominent during the pandemic, given the murder of George Floyd and resulting #BLM protests. Noah Davis creates a very moving film here of a poem by Keith S. Wilson, ‘Black Matters,’ which you can find here or in the collection Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love. It’s an incredibly moving and subtle film. Posted with the permission of Keith S. Wilson.