Garden Among Fires by Marina Benjamin [6/10]

Writers notice more. After initiating a lockdown blog in March, Marina Benjamin solicited more than forty essays, pieces, and poems from writers around the world, and “Garden Among Fires: A Lockdown Anthology” is the end result. Consider it a snapshot response, a mix of observation and insight. I was seeking perspective, so I was receptive, but even I was surprised how welcome this eclectic mix of intelligent missives proved to be. “Our worlds are convulsed,” writes Rebecca Abrams, “our daily lives horribly contracted, but I sense also – faintly as yet – the possibility for expansion.” For Sian Norris, “right now hope is the thing with feathers.” I shed a tear on reading Richard Zimler’s poetry: “If it were time to kiss your kids goodbye / Could you pin wings on them and let them fly?” And again with Samantha Ellis’s immersing tales of her three-year-old’s Covid-19 fears. Cherry Smyth’s image: “Rooks marshall the wires.” “In this hiatus,” muses Julia Bell, “I feel as if I’m being tasked with pausing to look at my life through the mediation of brain time.” Katherine May writes about “the fear that looks like heroism from a distance, and the fear that eats us whole.” Fittingly, proceeds go to charity. A Coronavirus-inspired minor gem.

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