VPR: ‘Between Abject Fear And Inexplicable Optimism’: Vt. Poets On The Pandemic

Major Jackson: I’m fluctuating between abject fear and inexplicable optimism.

Mitch Wertlieb: That’s poet Major Jackson, who lives in South Burlington. And you may have heard a bit of laughter in the background from his wife, Didi Jackson, who is also a poet. The two are quarantining together at a house in Rochester, Vermont, currently. And you might think, you know, the writing life lends itself to self-isolation even in normal times. So how difficult can that be?

But as Didi Jackson says …

Didi Jackson: What is difficult, though, is knowing that we can’t just pick up and get to family and friends, particularly if we feel like they need us. I have a lot of family in Florida. My son’s there, I feel like I can’t get to him super easy. And Major just had a loss in his family, and there’ll be a funeral that I don’t think he’s going to be able to go to.

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