How does one write a sequel to our recent volume of Art in Times of Crises? How does one compose when crises go on and on, deepening into the psyche and stirring a melancholy that stiffens the body and spirit, or for some of us, falling on the sleeves of denial like dandruff that needs to be gotten rid of, if only for appearance’s sake.
If only the crises were specks to be dusted off. We write as we are facing a most crucial American election, the big enchilada, and we are scrambling to see if the winner can walk off unhurt, emboldened, arms held wide, to try and bring the divided family together.
These are bracing times and the poems gathered here will brace us fierce, or release us into day dream, or heal us with their word music. These are necessary poems. They come from throughout the globe responding to the call from Washington D.C. and the Beltway, to both celebrate the poetry of our geographic space while recognizing that it is only made stronger and deeper and wiser by these verses coming across all borders — that stop and gaze at Black Lives Matter Plaza, at the White House, at the Mason-Dixon Line — and say let us step back, disarm, stretch out our hands, make signs of peace.
As we have said before and will say again with pride, the Beltway remains an essential stop in the global poetry conversation, relevant to the local poets in D.C. as well as beyond the Beltway’s loops, as these upended times push us to connect with each other beyond the limits of our geography. We are deeply honored to present to you the poets and poems of Art in Times of Crises, Volume II.