COVID-19 has fractured society and dislocated lives, forcing us to work differently, question ingrained assumptions, and appreciate relationships precisely because we’ve been masked and socially distanced. In his new book of poems, Tom Petsinis focuses on the day-to-day experiences of lockdown and isolation to produce a collection of vivid snapshots that draw on memory, home, religion, mathematics, football and funerals. He has crafted poems that are sometimes whimsical, often elegiac, but always immediate and palpable, expressed in a language that speaks to all.
One of the more disturbing effects of COVID-19’s prolonged lockdown has been the sense of becoming a stranger to one’s own life. The poems in Tom Petsinis’ Isolation overcome this feeling of estrangement by offering, with consoling precision, a rich (sometimes deeply moving and sometimes very funny) collection of observations of this new life of ours – from the new meaning of work, to face masks crafted by a mother/maker, to the poem ‘Wars’ in which the poet’s parents found ‘solace through closeness’ when their country was invaded, while the present invader distances us from family and friends.