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As I write this, 20% of the world’s population is under lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. There are now 719,758 confirmed cases worldwide since the illness was first reported in November 2019.

A day after the seven Bay Area counties issued a shelter-in-place mandate, I called for poems on “sheltering,” and in less than two weeks, received over 90 poems from 46 poets, on their personal and shared experiences of self-isolation, paying attention to and tracing the mundane and the fantastic that have become our new normal.

I am very grateful to William Allegrezza (Indiana), Ivy Alvarez (New Zealand), Megan Duffy Brown (California), Cynthia Buiza (California), Michael Caylo-Baradi (California), Douglas Cole (Washington), Joe Cottonwood (California), Robert Cowan (New York), Melinda Luisa de Jesús (California), Simeon Dumdum, Jr. (Philippines), Melissa Eleftherion (California), Hollie Hardy (California), Lee Herrick (California), Georgette Howington (California), Luisa A. Igloria (Virginia), Luke Johnson (California), Persis Karim (California), Mary Kasimor (Washington), Phyllis Klein (California), Abigail Licad (California), Aurelia Lorca (California), Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (Tennessee), Joseph G. Mendoza (Philippines), Rashaan Alexis Meneses (California), Abigail Milne (California), Claudia Monpere (California), PC Muñoz (California), Tayve Neese (Florida), Cynthia J. Patton (California), Octavio Quintanilla (Texas), Ron Riekki (California), Jacki Rigoni (California), Tony Robles (North Carolina), Lisa Rosenberg (California), Christopher X. Shade (New York), Murzban F. Shroff (India), Kim Shuck (California), Michael Simms (Pennsylvania), Norma Smith (California), Eileen R. Tabios (California), Gabriele Tinti (Italy), Joel Vega (Netherlands), Maw Shein Win (California), Rosemary Ybarra-Garcia (California), Jamie Zou (Connecticut), & Cybele Zufolo (California).

Despite the onslaught of our most recent pandemic, these poets carved out time to create, log their days, and thoughtfully consider which poems best give shape to what we shelter and why.

Faithfully and with great respect,
Aileen Cassinetto
Updated March 31, 2020
San Mateo County, California