Back into the Swing with a Podcast, Book News & More
It's been a busy fall, and I have some exciting (if perhaps overdue) news about my new podcast, a couple of forthcoming books (including my new poetry collection), and more.
The WildStory--A Brand New Podcast
My friend Kim Correro and I recently launched The WildStory: A Podcast of Poetry and Plants for The Native Plant Society of New Jersey. In each episode, I interview a featured poet whose work reflects on natural world--whether culturally, historically, or ecologically. Then Kim, who is a certified Master Gardener, joins me in conversation with a second guest--an
expert in native plant gardening and landscape design, ecology, botany, ornithology, or a related field. The learning curve for Kim and me has been steep, but we are thoroughly enjoying the fascinating, reflective conversations with our guests--and we hope you will too.
We have released five episodes to date:
The Long COVID Reader--Coming This Fall!
Last January, writer Mary Ladd offered an open call to record the stories and poems from her fellow long haulers as a direct response to the global phenomenon of COVID-19--and I am delighted to be included in The Long COVID Reader. It is the first-ever anthology created to reflect the millions struggling to cope with Long COVID’s physical and psychological impact, often in isolation.
I include here an excerpt from my story "And Breathe," about the struggle to secure supplemental oxygen in the early weeks of the pandemic and the relief that came with the contactless home delivery, more than a month into my illness, of the oxygen concentrator:
It was April 2020, and for five weeks every day had been filled with the terror of my unsteady oxygen, my near blackouts when I stood or even spoke. As bad as the days were, the nights were worse. I had not slept for more than three or four hours at a time in weeks. Each night, I woke after a few short hours of fitful sleep, my head throbbing and legs vibrating with pain from hypoxia. I would lie curled in a ball, clutching the base of my aching skull and rocking back and forth through the darkest hours. And each night, as I quietly begged for the pain to stop, I listened to Molly – infected with COVID a week before me – coughing, coughing, coughing in her room. Every night on end, the same tortured routine as I waited for the sun to rise.
If you would like to pre-order The Long COVID Reader, please consider supporting the book's kickstarter campaign (which ends Monday morning--I wasn't kidding when I said this update was overdue!). I will also share links for purchase when the book comes out later this fall.
Save the Date: Mocha Mic with Millie on Nov. 16
Local friends, I hope you can join us on November 16 for Mocha Mic with Millie, an evening of poetry & performances, hosted by Millicent Ansah. I'll be sharing poems alongside Damian Rucci, James C. Ellerbe, Shay Buttah, and Meanings Infinite, (otherwise known as M.I.)
400 Claremont Avenue
Jersey City, NJ
Days of Grace and Silence--Coming Winter 2024!
Wordgathering, Summer 2023
And finally, a big announcement--my poetry collection Days of Grace and Silence: A Chronicle of COVID's Long Haul will be published this winter by Kelsay Books.
The collection documents, through poetry, the day in, day out experience of COVID and its aftermath, with pieces dated and arranged much like a diary. Illness, pain, and healing are laid against a national and global backdrop of pandemic deaths, mental health crisis, and social unrest. Yet despite the difficult nature of the topic, joy, community, and resilience run through the collection.
As Gayle Brandeis, author of The Art of Misdiagnosis, writes, "Ann E. Wallace had to fight for language just as she had to fight for air in her journey with Long Haul COVID, and the poems here are hard won marvels, full of insight and compassion and fiercely nurtured hope. Here, the world becomes poem—the virus is a 'mad villanelle,' each of us a stanza 'braided to the other to the other,/with no beginning and no end.' Here, breath is painful and precious, never taken for granted. I could feel my own breath change as I read this necessary collection, this important chronicle of our pandemic era. '..for every/piece of you that has broken,' the poet reminds us, 'a new angle/becomes visible.' I’m so grateful for all the new angles Wallace makes visible in these pages, for the narrative she’s woven from and about our ruptured time."
Read more advance praise for the collection, as well as excerpts, here.
I am available for readings, as well as author talks and workshops--you can contact me here.
Thanks, everyone, for reading and for your support!