This multi-generic bilingual piece is sourced from our Journal off-beat (forthcoming), begun in the aftermath of the 2019 Paris International Poetry Festival. It was brought to a conclusion on 22 March 2020 after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The March entries convey how hope wrestles with despair and confusion. We sensed that the pandemic symbolised a warning of something worse to come. This is reflected in the liquefying of the text in journal entries and poetic responses from mid-March onwards. At that point Maurice Blanchot’s The Writing of Disaster became a backdrop for making sense of the global crisis which, like the idea of the apocalypse, seemed to arise from the unknown with an inkling towards endless deferral. Unlike Blanchot’s book, however, ‘The unwriting of disaster’ proclaims the continuing relevance of art in our lives and confirms how writing deepens our connection as human beings.
Keywords: journal; testimony; collaboration; genre; disaster