During times of high stress, instability, and media overload, taking the time to read and meditate on poetry can be a radical act of self-care. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman can remind us how it feels to connect with the world outside, while What Is This Thing Called Love by Kim Addonizio can call to mind all the deep and lasting connections we’ve formed, and a fire like you by Upile Chisala can remind us of the power within. So how can we support those who write the poems that mean the most to us—especially during times of such uncertainty?
Become a patron
The first, and perhaps most obvious show of support is to purchase their work. Whether you purchase a hardcopy or an eBook, or you go through a major retailer or an independent bookstore, your purchase is a meaningful show of support for that writer.
Write a review
If you’ve read a collection that’s moved you (whether you purchased it, borrowed it from the library, or read it for a class) leave a kind review! Let others know why you liked the work, and why they might enjoy it themselves.
Share on social media
If you loved a book enough to tell your friends, consider giving the poet a shout-out on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to let your friends and followers know who they are. Much like a review, you should say why you liked the collection and why you think others might enjoy it, too.
Reach out personally
Kind words can truly change a person’s day. During this time of limited social interaction, sending your love to your favorite writers is a great way to let them know that their work is still reaching people—even right now. Mention how their work has impacted you and how it made you feel. Your encouraging words can make all the difference.
Use your social media to share links to resources for writers during the pandemic. Depending on their situation, they may be eligible for certain relief funds or emergency assistance. There are several programs out there to meet a wide array of situations, but make sure to do your research to verify that your links are legit! Always be cautious of scams for money or information online.
Use your voice
For all those struggling financially, you can help by signing petitions and writing letters to your local government for things like rent relief or freezes, eviction moratoriums, pauses on utility shutoffs, and more. Do some research to see what local activist groups are doing in your area and how you can get involved. No one should struggle to meet their basic needs due to circumstances beyond their control. Your voice can help.
Whether you contribute financially, by lending your voice, or by spreading the word about poets or resources available to them, remember that even small acts make a big difference—especially when several people act together. Living through such uncertainty is hard, but we’ll get through it together.