In the Time of Coronavirus: an International Poetry Circle

A cool thing has been going on on Twitter for the last month. On March 15, poet Tara Skurtu (@TaraSkurtu) tweeted:

“This unprecedented time of social distancing is a very lonely one. We need each other. People often turn to poetry in tough times, so I’m starting Poetry Circle—a growing thread of people reading their poems and their favorite poems.”

And with that she published her first video poem with the hashtag #InternationalPoetryCircle.

Happily, the idea has caught on and her initial video has now been seen 124,000 times. And, in just over a month, more than 1000 video poems have been contributed.

I have contributed a few videos so far of other poems I’ve enjoyed.

The first one I read was a favorite by Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese” with the lines:

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely
The world offers itself to your imagination”

Someone replied to my tweet with “I don’t know how you read this without sobbing” and I replied, “I got that out of the way ahead of time.” (insert smiley 🙂

Here’s the link.

I’ve long been a fan of the Tang Dynasty poets Li Bai, Tu Fu and Wang Wei, among others, and so I read four translations of Li Bai’s “Taking Leave of a Friend” (in two parts)

Part 1

Part 2

My latest contribution is the poem “Water” by the Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska. I had to do two takes of the poem because the line, “How gently the world touches me,” caught me on the first take.

Here’s a the video of the poem.

Hope you enjoy them. And I hope you stay isolated, healthy and sane.