By John Rieg and Dan Flores
On February 16, 2021 Passaic County Community College’s own, Dr. Christine Redman-
Waldeyer was selected to read two of her poems “Supermarket in NJ pre-Covid” and “Walking the Boards” at the Poetry and Covid read-around event, presented by the Nottingham Creative Writing Club in England. The event took place via Zoom and included poets from around the world.
The Poetry and Covid website, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, has
served as a hub for pandemic related poetry during these trying times.
The first poem that Dr. Waldeyer read, titled “Supermarket in NJ, Pre-Covid,” reminisces on the days of walking in the supermarket before Covid-19 and how a simple thing such as going to the supermarket is very different now than it used to be.
Her second poem, “Walking the Boards,” paints a picture of solace and comfort in a period filled with uncertainty. The poem describes a walk through Dr. Waldeyer’s Jersey Shore town in a cathartic and almost ritualistic fashion; one cannot help but feel as if you are strolling alongside her when reading the poem. It is reflective, both on past external struggles like Hurricane Sandy, and inward ones, like exercising!
Dr. Waldeyer was kind enough to chat with Visions Staff about her experiences reading for the “Poetry and Covid” event. The PCCC Professor’s involvement in the program is marked by a call for pandemic-based poetry. She came across another post of a poet who announced he was published by them. Then she visited the website and saw the call.
“I have been writing quite a bit of poetry on the Pandemic, many poems which were in included in my most recent book ‘Where We Nest,’” the Dr. explained, “but [I] had poetry I had yet to publish on the topic, so I sent my poems in.”
Both works were published online before a representative from the Nottingham Creative Writing Hub contacted Dr. Waldeyer and requested her participation for a round-table poetry reading. “I was very excited because I saw that they had published quite a bit of poetry and poets on the topic and felt this would be a more globally inclusive reading.”
The event was globally inclusive indeed, boasting participants from multiple locations around
the world including Liverpool, Australia, and good old New Jersey.
Reflecting on her involvement with such a diverse array of poets, Dr. Waldeyer tells us, “just as I love teaching at our college because of the diversity, I loved the idea of meeting other writers from around the world and hearing them read on the same topic. I feel it's important to see the world through other people's eyes.”
Each poet painted a different picture of the pandemic ridden world that we have been forced to reside in. The Dr. continued, “I was sad to hear that two of the poets lost close relatives, a father and grandfather and it put things in perspective. I've lost my ability to be independent and be out in the world, but they lost so much more. I was humbled by listening to their work…It is amazing how this Pandemic has moved us, moved people to choose art to heal.”
Read Dr. Waldeyer’s Contributions to “Poetry and COVID” here: