Hope Is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic

Hope Is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic

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Editor: B. J. Hollars

Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press (2021)

Contributors: Jim Alf, Abayomi Animashaun, Jerry Apps, Jodie Arnold, Sharon Auberle, Laura Jean Baker, Meredith Ball, Aviroop Basu, Lopamudra Basu, Emily Bertholf, Kimberly Blaeser, Nicholas Gulig, Katy Hackworthy, David Hadbawnik, John Hildebrand, Luong Huynh, Sarah Jayne Johnson, Kendall Kartaly, Emily Kassera, Dasha Kelly Hamiton, Dion Kempthorne, Lisa Krawczyk, Courtney Kueppers, Charlotte Kupsh, Matthew Larson, Estella Lauter, Karen Loeb, Allyson Loomis, Jon Loomis, Yia Lor, Dan Lyskett, Donte McFadden, Rebecca Meacham, Curt Meine, Rebecca Mennecke, Oscar Mireles, Ralph Murre, Debra Peterson, Jessi Peterson, Ty Phelps, Eric Rasmussen, Rita Mae Reese, Jenna Rindo, Scout Roux, Margaret Rozga, Rafael Francisco, Katherine Schneider, Tract Schuldt Helixon, Patti See, Kaia Simon, Deanna Singh, Abraham Smith, Angela Sorby, Erin Stevens, Heather Swan, Ken Szymanski, Sahar Mahmoud Taman, Bruce Taylor, Ben Theyerl, Alex Tronson, Angie Trudell Vasquez, Jodi Vandenberg-Daves, Lisa Vihos, Angela Voras-Hills, Jamie Vue, Larry Watson, Rachel Werner, Peter Whalen, Peter Whitis, Jake Wrasse, Karissa Zastrow, and Amanda Zieba

In March 2020, as a pandemic began to ravage our world, writer and professor B. J. Hollars started a collaborative writing project to bridge the emotional challenges created by our physical distancing. Drawing upon Emily Dickinson’s famous poem “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” Hollars called on Wisconsinites to reflect on their own glimpses of hope in the era of COVID-19. The call resulted in an avalanche of submissions, each reflecting on hope’s ability to persist and flourish, even in the darkest times.

As the one hundred essays and poems gathered here demonstrate, hope comes in many forms: a dad dance, a birth plan, an unblemished banana, a visit from a neighborhood dog, the revival of an old tradition, empathy. The contributors are racially, geographically, and culturally diverse, representing a rough cross section of Wisconsin voices, from truck driver to poet laureate, from middle school student to octogenarian, from small business owner to seasoned writer. The result is a book-length exploration of the depth and range of hope experienced in times of crisis, as well as an important record of what Wisconsinites were facing and feeling through these historic times.