Olive Senior

Feb 4, 2022

Pandemic Poems

First Wave


Early in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Olive Senior began posting her series of Pandemic Poems on social media. The project was a way of bearing witness to the strangeness of it all and forging a reassuring connection with readers. Each poem is a riff on a word or phrase trending in the first wave of the pandemic - an A to Z of the lexicon newly coined or quickly repurposed for our historic moment. By presenting these words and phrases in sequence, Senior offers a timeline of the way events unfolded and how the language and preoccupations kept changing in response. In this accessible collection, Senior captures the zeitgeist of 2020.

In this interview Senior discusses her craft and inspiration for writing. As she writes in her preface, “These poems capture the paradox that even as we are forced into consciousness of being a part of the world, we are at the same time forced to be apart.” and these pandemic poems became a way of engaging the community outside her door and sparking a conversation about what it means to live in this world together.

Jori Krulder is an English teacher in rural Northern California where she is a frequent contributor to Edutopia.com and other publications writing about engaging students in the study of what it means to be human - literature. She can be found sharing lessons and ideas with the brilliant, generous community of writers and educators on Twitter at @jorikrulder.

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