One phone call. One poet reaching out to another on the night RBG died, searching for solace, searching for comfort. While this anthology began in despair, it grew into a call and response. Soon there were three poets, sharing laughter and stories, reaching out to fellow artists to use their gifts to record this moment. From Idaho to Ohio, Florida to Nevada, the more than two dozen talented poets in these pages offered up their passionate responses to Ginsburg’s passing.
Throughout the making of this collection, we found ourselves navigating our own storms and life changes: we lost and gained jobs, welcomed new foster children, endured surgery after surgery, suffered from COVID, cared for others suffering from COVID…. And through these challenges, we reminded each other, Go gentle with yourself, but keep going. Keep going. Keep going because this work is important. This project—a project of passion and gratitude, embraced by other artists enduring similar struggles who, nevertheless, put their lives on hold and contributed—is a collection honoring RBG. It is also a reminder to endure.
Other projects will set for themselves the task of charting the long-term effects of Ginsburg’s loss on the people and progress of the United States. But her death cut our nation to the quick, and the poems we’ve gathered here—whether spare, lyrical, shocking, or sad—enact that same mercilessness upon the reader. These pieces are testaments to the power of poetry in the face of social upheaval and personal uncertainty. They should be read across cultures and borders, across time and space, yesterday and tomorrow. Mostly, they should be read now, before the justice’s death has shifted to the realm of collective memory.