TOGETHER IN A SUDDEN STRANGENESS
Alice Quinn, editor of Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America's Poets Respond to the Pandemic, will host a virtual reading with ten contributors on Wednesday, March 31st at 7 p.m.
As the novel coronavirus and its devastating effects began to spread in the United States and around the world, Alice Quinn reached out to poets across the country to see if, and what, they were writing under quarantine. Moved and galvanized by the response, the onetime New Yorker poetry editor and recent former director of the Poetry Society of America began collecting the poems arriving in her inbox, assembling this various, intimate, and intricate portrait of our suddenly altered reality.
In these pages, we find poets grieving for relatives they are separated from or recovering from illness themselves, attending to suddenly complicated household tasks or turning to literature for strength, considering the bravery of medical workers or working their own shifts at the hospital, and, as the Black Lives Matter movement has swept the globe, reflecting on the inequities in our society that amplify sorrow and demand our engagement.
From fierce and resilient to wistful, darkly humorous, and emblematically reverent about the earth and the vulnerability of human beings in frightening times, the poems in this collection find the words to describe what can feel unspeakably difficult and strange, providing wisdom, companionship, and depths of feeling that enliven our spirits.
A portion of the advance for this book was generously donated by Alice Quinn and the poets to Chefs for America, an organization helping feed communities in need across the country during the pandemic.
Jill Bialosky is the author of five volumes of poetry, most recently Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections, as well as three novels and two nonfiction works, including the New York Times best-selling History of a Suicide. She is an executive editor at W.W. Norton & Company.
George Bilgere is the author of seven collections of poetry, including the most recent Blood Pages (University of Pittsburgh Press). He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Traci Brimhall’s latest book is Saudade (Copper Canyon Press). She is an associate professor and Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.
Danielle Chapman is the author of a collection of poems, Delinquent Palaces. Her recent essays can be found in The Oxford American and Commonweal.
Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (VQR/Georgia, 2011), a book of poems. He served as poet laureate of the State of Ohio for 2018-19, and lives in Cleveland.
Amit Majmudar’s poetry collection is What He Did in Solitary (Knopf, 2020), and his most recent book is Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary (Knopf, 2018).
Shane McCrae’s most recent books are The Gilded Auction Block and Sometimes I Never Suffered, both published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He lives in New York City and teaches at Columbia University.
Susan Minot grew up in Massachusetts. She writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, and screenplays. She also teaches, paints, and makes collages. Her most recent book is Why I Don’t Write and Other Stories (Knopf, 2020).
Alice Quinn , the executive director of the Poetry Society of America for eighteen years, was also poetry editor at The New Yorker from 1987-2007 and an editor at Alfred A. Knopf for more than ten years prior to that. She teaches at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and is the editor of a book of Elizabeth Bishop’s writings, Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments. She lives in New York City and Millerton, New York.
Christian Wiman’s most recent book is Survival is a Style. He is the author of several other books—among them Every Riven Thing, a collection of poems, and the memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditations of a Modern Believer, all published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He teaches religion and literature at Yale Divinity School.
Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, recipient of the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in New York City.