A World Out of Reach: Dispatches from Life under Lockdown

A World Out of Reach: Dispatches from Life under Lockdown

by Meghan O'Rourke (Editor)


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Selections from the "Pandemic Files" published by The Yale Review, the preeminent journal of literature and ideas

“If only our response to the pandemic on other fronts could have been as speedy and potent as this literary one.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

In beautifully written and powerfully thought prose, A World Out of Reach offers a crucial record of COVID-19 and the cataclysmic spring of 2020—a record for us and for posterity—in the arresting voices of poets, essayists, scholars, and health care workers. Ranging from matters of policy and social justice to ancient history and personal stories of living under lockdown, this vivid compilation from The Yale Review presents a first draft of one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history.

Katie Kitamura • Laura Kolbe • Nitin Ahuja • Rena Xu • Alicia Christoff • Miranda Featherstone • Maya C. Popa • Major Jackson • John Witt • Octávio Luiz Motta Ferraz • Joan Naviyuk Kane • Nell Freudenberger • Briallen Hopper • Brandon Shimoda • Yusef Komunyakaa • Laren McClung • Eric O’Keefe-Krebs • Sean Lynch • Millicent Marcus • Meghana Mysore • Rachel Jamison Webster • Emily Ziff Griffin • Rowan Ricardo Philips • Kathryn Lofton • Monica Ferrell • Russell Morse • Randi Hutter Epstein • Noreen Khawaja • Victoria Chang • Joyelle McSweeney • Khameer Kidia • Emily Greenwood • Elisa Gabbert • Emily Bernard • Hafizah Geter • Emily Gogolak • Roger Reeves

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300257359
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/24/2020
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 1,154,901
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Meghan O’Rourke is Editor of The Yale Review and the author of the best-selling memoir The Long Goodbye and the poetry collections Once,Halflife, and Sun in Days. She is currently completing a book about contested chronic illness.

Table of Contents

Introduction Meghan O'Rourke xi

Do You Know Alex Oreille Katie Kitamura 1


Cannon Fodder Laura Kolbe 9

There's a Sickness Outside Nitin Ahuja 13

Medicine's Innovation Problem Rena Xu 19

March II Alicia Mireles Christoff 23

The Lice Miranda Featherstone 25

Spring Maya C. Popa 32


Memories of West Fourth Street Major Jackson 35

The Law of Salus Populi John Fabian Witt 36

Pandemic Inequality Octávio Luiz Motta Ferraz 41

The Pandemic in Inupiaq Joan Naviyuk Kane 46

A Nurse Comes to Brooklyn Nell Freudenberger 52

Sirenland Briallen Hopper 60

The White String Brandon Shimoda 66


Trading Riffs to Slay Monsters Yusef Komunyakaa Laren McClung 73

Leaving Yale for the Coronavirus Epicenter Eric O'Keefe-Krebs 76

Welcome to Zoom University Sean Lynch 81

Reading The Decameron through the Lens of COVID-19 Millicent Marcus 86

A Commencement Deferred Meghana Mysore 91

History Is Another Word for Trauma Rachel Jamison Webster 97

The Children Know Emily Ziff Griffin 103

Prelude Rowan Ricardo Phillips 108

Get the Shovel Kathryn Lofton 110

Two Poems: Provision, The Hour between Dog and Wolf Monica Ferrell 116

The Jail Crisis Russell Morse 119

Coronavirus and the Danger of Disbelief Randi Hutter Epstein 132

Invisible Kingdoms Noreen Khawaja 139


The Trees Witness Everything Victoria Chang 147

How I Became a Prophetess Joyelle McSweeney 150

Lives or Livelihoods Khameer Kidia 153

Thucydides in Times of Trouble Emily Greenwood 158

Safe Elisa Gabbert 167

I Can't Sleep Emily Bernard 173

Giving Up the Ghost Hafizah Geter 179

The Crisis of Asylum at Trump's Border Wall Emily Gogolak 185

The Dancing Drum Roger Reeves 191

Notes and Sources 195

Acknowledgments 207

Contributors 209

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