Stephanie Burgis
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I didn't end up writing yesterday after all. I'd read blog entries about the Virginia shooting over breakfast and listened to the BBC reports. I tried to put it out of my mind, and managed long enough to make the collage for my novel. (I also tried three times to come up with a blog entry about what I was feeling and gave up - much easier to talk about the lighter, unrelated stuff.) Then I went back online and sank into grief over the news. Any event like this is a horror. But for once, I actually know people linked to this campus and these deaths, and that makes this particular horror feel real in a way that reported events often don't. So many at once is beyond tragedy, into the realm that can barely be understood.

There isn't much to say - certainly nothing I could say that would measure up to what is deserved. But what people keep coming back to in times of grief is poetry, and over the last day there has been more poetry posted online than I've seen in a long time. I'm not a poetry-reader in normal life, but when horrible things happen, poetry seems to work on a level that prose just can't.

Tiffany Trent posted a beautiful Wendell Berry poem, The Peace of Wild Things. Farah Mendelssohn posted an excerpt of a poem that reminded me of just how much I love John Donne in times like this. And at the end of his beautiful, heartbreaking tribute to Jamie Bishop (artist, German professor and son of the SF/fantasy writer Michael Bishop), Jason Lundberg posted an excerpt from one of Jamie's favorite poems, Thanatopsis, by William Cullen Bryant.

Right now I'm reading poetry again.

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