Early in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Olive Senior began posting her series of Pandemic Poems on social media. The project was a way of bearing witness to the strangeness of it all and forging a reassuring connection with readers. Each poem is a riff on a word or phrase trending in the first wave of the pandemic — an A to Z of the lexicon newly coined or quickly repurposed for our historic moment. By presenting these words and phrases in sequence, Senior offers a timeline of the way events unfolded and how the language and preoccupations kept changing in response. In this accessible collection, Senior captures the zeitgeist of 2020.
“Generations to come will read these poems and chart the shifts we've been making or not making as a global community linked by a singular virus bearing multiple challenges. We've needed these poems, and we continue to ever more.”-Faizal Deen, author of The Greatest Films
“Olive Senior's Pandemic Poems invite, seduce and require us to think and feel in new ways about the intersecting crises of this terrible year. I was moved to laughter, to weeping, and to silence by these poems. They are essential reading.”-Rachel L. Mordecai, author of Citizenship under Pressure: The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture
«In Pandemic Poems, Olive Senior captures the sense of dread that has affected us since the virus has crept into our lives. … Senior transforms seemingly mundane events into meditations on mortality. Pandemic Poems offers a much-needed respite from the deluge of data that surrounds us and provides moments to pause and, perhaps, find peace.”-Geoffrey Philp, author of Garvey's Ghost