Philadelphia can be a difficult place to live even in the best of times. Although it can be a wonderful destination for visitors, America’s “cradle of liberty” also suffers from one of the nation’s worst poverty rates and has been laid-low by an opioid crisis for years. The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated an already struggling city. with marginalized communities severely battered by the virus. But the literary community has been a constant source of hope for Philadelphians.
The most recent example is the Healing Verse Philly Poetry Line. Created by Philadelphia poet laureate Trapeta B. Mayson, the project offers a glimpse of hope through its poetic messages. Callers to the toll-free number (1-855-763-6792) are greeted by Mayson’s voice with a recorded message and introduction to the project, which offers an affirming poem by a Philadelphia-connected poet as well as information about events and mental health resources. The Philly Poetry Line offers a new poem every Monday. The short poems provide a welcome respite from pandemic life.