At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, writer and professor B.J. Hollars sent out a call to Wisconsinites to share their responses to pandemic life and to fill in the blank: “Hope is the thing…” (inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem “‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers“).
The result is a collected volume, Hope is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic, published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. Today, guest host David Ahrens speaks with B.J. Hollars about this project—and about how hope can take many shapes and forms beyond trite positivity.
B.J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the founder and executive director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. He has written ten books and edited three anthologies, including Hope is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2021).