Tina Cane, as a teacher and a parent during this pandemic, is at both ends of what's changed. She can't go to school and teach, and her kids can't do that either. Still, she says it's working out pretty well, considering. Everybody's healthy and they have enough of what they need so she feels grateful.           

"As a writer," she says, "it's been hard because writing requires a lot of solitude, and it's true, the alone time has been scant. So that's a real challenge."

Nevertheless, she's working on finishing up a new book of poems called, at least for now, Dog Whistle. 

"It's a collection of personal poems, written with a lot of political speech," she says. "I took a lot of language and notes from the impeachment hearings...it's really interesting language...the way things are phrased in official FBI and CIA documents. Some of it's kind of beautiful."

Cane shared a poem that she wrote at the very start of the pandemic, when the phrase shelter-in-place was a new concept. She says she wrote the poem after reading about the engineering of birds' nests.

Shelter in Place

Cane shared another new poem, called Rice, written, she says, in one of those personal/political moments where a poem is triggered by an everyday action.

"I was rinsing rice to make my children dinner," says Cane. "It's about language, and it's about Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was killed in Cleveland, playing with a toy gun", and shot by police.


Cane says she continues to curate her Poetry Is Bread project, featuring distance readings from other poets, something she says has turned into "this incredible collection of some of the best poets out there."

Poetry Is Bread is on Facebook and Instagram. Find more of Cane's work on her website.