The Plug Poetry Project founder Christian Collier on how local poets can stay connected to the community
We are all in strange times right now. Life has always been full of unsure moments and difficult situations, but every human being is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. To some, it takes a financial toll; many are unable to work. For others, there is an emotional toll. Sometimes it feels like everywhere you turn, people are panicking, anxious, and stressed. It’s a natural reaction we human beings have in such times. However, there is light for these dark times.
Christian Collier is the founder of The Plug Poetry Project. The group organizes local poetry events and provides support for poets in the Chattanooga area. With the help of social media, Christian is making sure there is still a community of thriving poets, even if we are under quarantine.
Luckily for Christian, he is still able to work and produce while in self-isolation.
“Professionally, I have the ability to work from home, and, creatively, I’ve been able to maintain the same degree of rigor with my work that I had prior to the virus hitting,” he shared.
In a few days, Christian’s third episode of The Plug Poetry Project docuseries will debut. Fortunately, quarantine hasn’t hampered production for Christian.
“One of the reasons I wanted to make the docuseries was to create something that existed outside of living bodies being in a room and witnessing it,” Christian said.
During self-isolation, people are spending more time on their phones, tablets, and computers. Having a docuseries readily accessible through an online format allows people to build community while staying at home.
With staying at home, there are complications that poets and artists can face. Some could lack motivation or creativity, finding difficulty in producing any art or poetry. Resting in such a time like this is not something to feel guilty over.
“I think it’s essential not to add stress to one’s life right now (life has already done a solid job of giving us all more stress to contend with. If art isn’t talking to you, I would advise people to seek out things outside of art,” Christian shared.
For those who do seek art and creativity during this time, Christian hopes to encourage his community via Facebook.
“I’m going to be doing a few 30-minute sessions online this month where I’ll be (hopefully) helping people to come to the page differently in order to enter poems in interesting ways, write into surprise, etc., so if people are frustrated but want to remain active for something to do, they’ll have the chance to try a few things with me that might prove useful,” he said.
Another source for local creators is Artsbuild. They have helped provide support to artists impacted financially by the pandemic.
“Times like this are where community proves to be so vital, and there are a number of communities poets can access if they need,” Christian shared.
Local poets should not fear to ask for something if they need it. There are opportunities for local support, and such support outlets create a stronger community. The Plug Poetry Project’s Facebook group is providing prompts, group poems, along with other activities to give poets human interaction while staying at home. As Christian shared, the community is vital in times like this. It is easy for us to become overwhelmed.
“One of the mantras that I live by and share with my poetry students is to not let the moment be bigger than you,” Christian shared.
It is important for everyone, not just artists and creators, to allow the feeling to happen. Anxiety and stress at this time is normal, but we shouldn’t let it overcome us. We should acknowledge those feelings, understand that they will be there, and do our best to keep moving forward. Life will go on, no matter how we feel. We as a community shouldn’t let our fear and anxiety steal any happiness or comfort we may find.
“Don’t let this virus and the consequences around it be bigger than us,” Christian shared.
If you want to check out Christian’s work, you can visit his website here or check out his Instagram at @ichristian3030. Be sure to also drop by The Plug Poetry Project Facebook group and to check out their YouTube channel here!