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April 04, 2020 Saturday 11:55:30 AM IST

Covid-19: Poetry for the Soul to Tide Over the Crisis

Image by Adriano Gadini

Poetry is a beacon in this unprecedented time of fear, bewilderment and isolation, according to Nancy Holmes, poet and associate professor in University of British Columbia's Okangan's Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. 
The job of poetry is to say what cannot be said. It is our go-to-art in times of upheaval and catastrophe. She points out that most people are in the midst of both social and personal confusion this month.  “Most of us are experiencing a shock to our daily lives, but there are also people who are sick or who have lost people they love,” Holmes says.  For millennia, poetry has been an art that people turn to in order to cope with these traumatic experiences. 
Art helps us to explore and express our understanding of the world with its final form only limited by the extent of human creativity. For nearly every feeling and situation human beings have encountered and new poems are being written to explore what it is like to be alive now. 
She says that reading poetry offers benefits of consolation, release and enlightenment. But she also encourages people to write their own poetry.  If you’re in self-isolation, writing a few poems is a nourishing way to spend a few hours. Sometimes just sitting down and expressing your terrors or your love for people and the planet or even your anger can be genuinely therapeutic.
Poems to cope with worry
The Heart is A Thousand-Stringed Instrument by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky
For a friend on the Arrival of Illness by John O'Donohue
After great pain, a formal feeling comes by Emily Dickinson
Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton
Small Kindness by Danusha Lameris
Morning Poem by Mary Oliver
Try to Praise the Mutliaed World by Adam Zagajkewski.

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