“Poetry is language whose through-passage leaves poet, reader, and itself somehow changed.” – Jane Hirschfield
In her 2013 essay, “Poetry, Transformation, and the Column of Tears,” Jane Hirschfield writes, "When the shape of the outer alters, the inner must shift to meet it, or we will be left in broken incoherence inside our own lives." Since long before 2020, poetry has given us the tools to reshape our inner worlds to meet exterior changes. When the pandemic hit, lockdown silenced much of the world, and in that space, a vacuum opened to new landscapes of meaning. What is the role of poetry in a time of chaos? What does it mean to adapt to unprecedented times? What comes next? In this panel, poets Stacey Balkun, Carolyn Hembree, Jade Hurter, and Tiana Nobile will discuss the writing practices that sustained them during the pandemic and share the poems they wrote and read during the first three years of the altered world.