Kingston’s Poet Laureate pens poem pondering pandemic - Kingston’s Poet Laureate pens poem pondering pandemic
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null Kingston’s Poet Laureate pens poem pondering pandemic
May 13, 2020 -
Kingston’s Poet Laureate, Jason Heroux, has written a poem in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Kingston residents. Heroux completed the poem, titled All People, in April as part of National Poetry Month and aims to provide a message of endurance and hope through his writing.
In addition to the poem All People, Heroux will be inviting four other Kingston poets to write new pieces of their own reflecting on the pandemic and its impacts over the course of the summer. Those poems will be published on a monthly basis from May to August and will be featured on the City of Kingston Poet Laureate webpage and the Kingston Frontenac Public Library’s Poetry Blackboard.
All people wonder what one
plus one equals now that numbers
aren’t allowed to gather together.
The letters from A to Z are working
from home. The alphabet is closed.
The morning news announces more
sick, more dead. You are your hand.
I am mine, and it’s hard not to join
in applause or prayer, it’s hard
for us to live alone in our pockets.
At night the light grows quieter,
saving its strength for another day.
Empty street, where are you going,
why? We are in this together. Stay.
Statement from Jason Heroux
“The original inspiration behind this poem began when I learned the root meaning of the word ‘pandemic.’ According to Vocabulary.com: “The word comes from ancient Greek — pan (meaning "all") and demos (meaning "people").” On a general everyday level, the pandemic has separated us through quarantine and self-isolation, but on a deeper level it’s also strengthened our connections. It’s made us realize how much we have in common, and how essential our individual actions are to each other. All People.”
“I felt it was important for the poem to have more questions than answers, more uncertainty than sureness, because no one really knows what’s going on these days. The final word of the poem is “stay.” And it’s a word with many meanings: to spend time in a place, or situation, of course, and to come to a stop, or standstill. But it also means to support or prop up, and the power of endurance. All of those definitions apply to us now.”
Visit the Poet Laureate webpage to view a video of Jason Heroux reading his poem All People.
The City continues to monitor the information released by the provincial Ministry of Health and other public health partners, including KFL&A Public Health.