Against a constellation of solar weather events and evolving pandemic, Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Flare, Corona paints a self-portrait of the layered ways that we prevail and persevere through illness and natural disaster.
Gailey deftly juxtaposes odd solar and weather events with the medical disasters occurring inside her own brain and body— we follow her through a false-alarm terminal cancer diagnosis, a real diagnosis of MS, and finally the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The solar flare and corona of an eclipse becomes the neural lesions in her own personal “flare,” which she probes with both honesty and humour. While the collection features harbingers of calamity, visitations of wolves, blood moons, apocalypses, and plagues, at the centre of it all are the poet’s attempts to navigate a fraught medical system, dealing with a series of challenging medical revelations, some of which are mirages and others that are all too real.
In Flare, Corona, Jeannine Hall Gailey is incandescent and tender-hearted, gracefully insistent on teaching us all of the ways that we can live, all of the ways in which we can refuse to do anything but to brilliantly and stubbornly survive.
As a child I was radiant.
The land grew irradiated corn and roses,
tomatoes large and abundant.– IRRADIATE
(@boaeditions, 9 May 2023, e-book, 100 pages, #ARC from @PoeticBookTours, #BlogTour 30 May)
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I really enjoyed Flare, Corona. This is my first time reading the poet. I liked the range of subjects the poems cover, some more personal than others. The collection contains a large section of poems about the pandemic. I’ve read other poems about the pandemic and even written some and these are among the best. The poems in this collection are well-written, engaging, and powerful. I especially liked Self-Portrait as a Murder Mystery, Reading Portents on the Summer Solstice, Under A Blood Moon I Get My Brain Scanned and To Survive So Many Disasters.