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The Stories

D.P., 31, an Assistant Professor of English Literature in New Delhi, India

“The government officials have estimated the numbers of virus infected people in Delhi itself is going to be more than 5 lakh by July end. It is quite a spectacle. A spectacle of numbers ! They have become so indispensable  in the way of perceiving reality. We are straightjacketed into a dense matrix of numbers. Big data, statistics, surveys, meter readings of power connection, grades and even citizen identity. Poetry gives me a fresh lease of life to breathe in this age of numbers.”

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E.B., 65, an author and teacher in Newton, MA

“At times, my focus flees, and my mind goes foggy and I find it unusually arduous to work on the two books I was writing before the world stopped. I become lost in my dark places and must turn to words and music. I cloister but I am not alone.
I turn to family and community to bring me back.”

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J.A., 48, a hospitality team leader in Portland, OR

“I wrote this poem in the month of April, thinking of those I missed but could not see or touch in these first few months of the pandemic. I thought about what it would be like when we reunited, how I might express a memory of how I hope it would be…”

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M.M., 36, a writer in Monroe, WA

“I asked one guard in the dining-hall why he refused to wear his mask, in light of the death which he could be unknowingly introducing into my community, and he smiled as he responded:”Man, I’m just trying to spread the love.”And I was thinking: Oh yeah, they don’t view us as human. Why would they care if they kill us?”

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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