Call to submit poems for Hope in the Time of Corona- a digital arts project facilitated by Cape Town poet, Siphokazi Jonas

The impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) on everyone is shattering. We know that. People working digitally have relative immunity and may be able to generate some income.

In the creative arts, Covid-19 has effectively wiped out the income stream for independent and freelance artists, particularly those who depend on live performance. Shows have been postponed or cancelled. Recordings have been halted. Book deals have fallen off the page. Artists are reeling and trying to make contingency plans so that they can attend to the bottom line – pay the mortgage, rent, food, medical bills. No one knows when the virus will burn itself out and how long theatres and performance spaces will be closed. Artists are establishing platforms on social media/interest to keep their spirts up and which will hopefully give them the opportunity to monetize their creative pursuits and bring in income.

Cape Town based poet and theatre maker, Siphokazi Jonas has conceptualised the Hope in the Time of Corona project. She is inviting people to submit poems. The curatorial prompt: “Let’s combat fear with peace.”

Jonas: “The initiative is a very simple way to use the arts to push back against fear and hopefully to relieve some anxiety during a difficult time. The idea of social distancing and self-isolation means that the idea of community needs to adapt quite quickly. When I saw what Yo Ma [the cellist toured South Africa in February 202] has done through #songsofcomfort on Instagram, drawing musicians around the world together through a positive approach, I wanted to invite my peers to do the same. The idea is simply to compile short poems in a PDF file which can be distributed very easily. This will make for great reading while in isolation but also it will connect writers from around the world. But the project is not limited to poets, anyone who feels they can offer hope and comfort through poetry is welcome to contribute. I will also be reaching out to writers and editors who can help in proofreading the work so that there are many hands on the task.”

The anthology will be made available as a PDF. However, who knows where this will lead. For Jonas it is about sending out sparks of light and hope. Rather than work solo – as many are doing – she is inviting others to join her and commune in generating “Hope in the Time of Corona”

Hope in the Time of Corona- submission info

Poems: Length – 20 lines or less

Submit: By e-mail

Format: Paste poem into main body of e-mail. Do not attach or send as a link

Biography: Include your home country and social media handles, especially Instagram handle. This will hopefully facilitate engagement and follows and may lead to generating income and to collaborations around the globe

Donations: If you have funds and would like to donate to this project by assorting with the publication of a hard copy anthology and/or a digitally mastered high res copy which can be read on an e-reader, let Jonas know. You may get a tax break and will do a lot of good by supporting the arts

Siphokazi Jonas Pic: TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen