From Bill Herbert and Andy Jackson

Robert Malthus, ‘the Gloomy Doctor’, studied population growth in the late 18th century. His work identified natural checks to unlimited population growth. Should one species become too dominant in an ecosystem, nature may attempt to restore balance, sometimes in dramatic ways. In the current crisis, it seems like we’re all – hopefully temporarily – living in Malthusia now.

These are surreal times. Maybe the most surreal they have been in our lifetimes. As John Lennon remarked, ‘Strange days indeed!’ And almost as alarming as the Coronavirus is the way politicians and scaremongers are using language to define it and our lives – as William Burroughs remarked, ‘Language is a virus from outer space’.

But unlike viruses, or governments, or trolls, poetry has the capacity to engage with both the real and the surreal, the strange and the alarming. It is a curative medium – not only will it not be socially isolated, it helps us thrive in our isolation; it associates freely through time and space and, albeit only in our minds, helps us do the same; crucially, it carries with it a highly efficacious vaccine for distress – ideas.

We want your NEW AND UNPUBLISHED poems addressing issues related to the current situation – poems of community in adversity, of clarity in solitude, poems offering commentary, regret, insight, support, or relief. We will publish the best of what we receive at the rate of one poem per day (via the New Boots & Pantisocracies and Gude and Godlie Ballatis blogs and Twitter accounts) until there is no need to publish any more. Spread the word – it contains antibodies of the imagination.

By the time you read down this far, the world may have changed again. So get writing and send to azjackson65 at gmail dot com


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