Photo by Nico Hough of Pangea Kali Virga
by Nico Hough
Nico Hough, writer, aesthete, and Miami On Sight co-producer shares his thoughts on writing poetry during quarantine and lends advice to those looking to write verse. Nico has been writing a poem a day during this time of social distancing, invites you to do the same, and tells you why it matters.
KEEPING A QUARANTINE POETRY JOURNAL
WHY WRITE QUARANTINE POETRY?
Language is a social technology. Poetry is an individual voice. Writing (and sharing) poetry is a brilliant expression of the #TogetherAlone moment we find ourselves in. This pandemic event has upended life on a societal level,
and poetry gives its writer an opportunity to catalog the strange, disruptive beauty of this unique time.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a poem a day in your Quarantine Diary. It can be long or short, observational or romantic, silly or serious. The objective is just to write it.
Quarantine writing tips
Everything is a moment in history. Right now, no matter what you are doing, you are here, and this is happening. Poetry allows you to keep a record of your lived moments. Remember that when you are writing.
The only way to truly fail as a writer of poetry is by not writing poetry. Poetry gives us permission to experiment and play in the sandbox of language, so don't worry whether your poem is good or bad. Don't think of poetry as work, think of it as the opposite of work.
Read poetry! If you're not familiar with many poets, a great place to start is with Poem-a-Day.
You are a genius all of the time. First thought is best thought. Be open, and your own truth may surprise you.
SELECTED QUARANTINE POEMS
by Nico Hough
It’s less a peak than a mountain range.
Today returned rare prestige, allowance
to a FedEx that only permitted ten,
for a gilded frame from Georgia.
Like I made it on the guest list,
returned me to the fact the world
is made of bodies. Rumors declare
cocaine in the drinking water,
particles which glide towards collective
from something as private as yourself.
This surgical mask is not pictured
in my license photo. I expected better optics
from armageddon; I never imagined
so many sweatpants. Each alert alters the contours,
less a short v than a long u,
less a harsh winter than a silent spring. The threshold
for constituting miracle lowers like a bomb,
a flattened curve,
future trends in discretionary aesthetic spending.
These surgical gloves are not pictured
in the fingerprint registry, further proof
that the old world is dead, not dying.
Those people at the door cannot gain access
until I make my exit, hoping our bodies survive this
and our selves do not.
Scooters, rental bikes, & other micro-mobility solutions,
Peace of mind,
Chilling with the boys,
The insufferable Miami greeting of pressing your cheek against the cheek of another person
kissing the air near their earlobe while they do the same to you,
with the occasional expectation of performing this on both sides of the face,
though exact rules of this tradition are arcane and unknowable,
Zooming towards new normalcy from interiors
Covering our faces to get air,
A Russian nesting doll of constriction in the outline of a state.
My friend is finishing her novel about finding love
in a world that doesn’t exist anymore.
We must find it in the negative space now,
I didn’t have the nerve to tell her. Like someone
maxed out contrast settings on the film,
like unmoored cruise ships in the bay
beyond the art museum, lonely as Americans
sliding over glassy water. They must be low
on crab and cold cuts, flying beneath their tax shelter flags
When civilians had access
to the sculpture garden, we admired a work called ‘Chaos,’
a minimalist rendering of structure in decline,
latticed cubes stacked with broken angles.
Everywhere is smothered
in metaphor, drifting towards the coastline
of the unreal real. I am waving at the passengers,
at the prisoners, from a distance too great to be seen.
Nico Hough, is an art consultant, critic, and writer. He is a co-producer and copywriter for Miami On Sight. You can find Nico on Instagram @summerhoof, on Facebook @pleasecallmenico, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.