These poems map a private pilgrimage to nowhere—from the chair to the couch, the couch to the chair. These poems also map a public pilgrimage through the landscape of pandemic, from dire disaster to the hope for healing. They chronicle a year spent in lockdown in a small village just outside New York City.
Living amid the Coronavirus catastrophe has occasioned extraordinary outpourings of love over the past year. These poems recognize the public love of healthcare workers, front-line essential workers, people helping their sick and elderly neighbors and family members, school teachers ministering to students and their parents—all signs of our belief in the common good, as well as the many forms of private and personal love we practice—among them the uncountable emails, texts, social media posts, phone calls, and Zoom calls we share with our beloveds whom we are separated from, making ourselves present to them virtually when we cannot be present physically. These are but a few of the many forms love has taken—and continues to take—during these late days of pandemic.
The title of the book, Love in the Time of Coronavirus, is borrowed from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s luminous novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, about the enduring power of love in the face of time and deadly circumstance. This book of poems goes beyond Marquez's primary focus on romantic attachment to consider love in its many forms. As with Marquez's novel, the poems remind us that love flourishes even, and perhaps especially, during times of extremity, when the reality of mortality becomes palpable to us and we begin to see life in the context of eternity. It is then that love becomes the most powerful antidote we have to human suffering.