Flare, Corona

by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Against a constellation of solar weather events and an ominously encroaching pandemic, Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Flare, Corona paints a self-portrait of perseverance amid health crises and uncertain futures.
Flare, Corona is radiant, blazing a path to a world where we can brilliantly and stubbornly survive.

Who knew the apocalypse
could be so fun?

In Flare, Corona, Jeannine Hall Gailey uses self-portraits as insights into the improbable, the miraculous while she melds the personal with the political to tell a story of a world and body in crises. Flare, Corona is a personal account, set against a backdrop of eclipses and solar weather phenomenon, of a precarious journey through multiple health crises climaxing in a global pandemic. It’s also a real-life fairy tale of apocalypse, supervillains, cherry trees, and foxes. Gailey’s incandescent writing illuminates the power of humor, hope, and an insistence on survival in a perilous and painfully beautiful world.

Pricing and Availability

Flare, Corona  (BOA Editions, 2023) is a softcover book with a list price of $17; it is available from the following locations:

An eGalley version of Flare, Corona is available for potential reviewers, on request.

Praise for Flare, Corona

Everything really is connected is what I kept thinking as I read Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Flare, Corona. In it, the ecological crisis we face is felt in the marrow of the body, and ‘chronic illness’ becomes a phrase to characterize not only a human condition but our global one.
Yet Hall Gailey faces personal and societal illness with characteristic deep feeling and humor, and I was struck by the search for hope and optimism undergirding these inviting, image-rich poems:

‘Look to the future—perhaps that glow you see isn’t fire, but sunrise.’

—Dana Levin, author of Now Do You Know Where You Are

Who knew the apocalypse could be so fun? Jeannine Hall Gailey, that’s who. Our trenchant speaker, who ‘wrote a nuclear winter poem when I was seven,’ now in mid-life finds herself smack dab in the eye of a perfect storm: a mistaken terminal cancer diagnosis resolves itself into an MS diagnosis accessorized with a corona virus crown. Yet these poems are deeply life-affirming, filled with foxes and fairy tales and fig trees. Flare, Corona is a surprising, skilled, and big-hearted book.”

—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (W.W.Norton) and Poet Laureate of Mississippi

We all have bodies that we know will fail on us, and we live in a world we know is riven by troubles. But how few of us really reckon with the body’s—and the body politic’s—failures until disaster strikes—for us or for a loved one. Flare, Corona is full of these dark facts, as Jeannine Hall Gailey grapples with her own illness and with an America, maybe a world, that seems to be falling apart. Yet in poem after full, fast, lush poem, Gailey keeps turning disaster into light, not at all to falsify the very real darkness, but to turn ethical, engaged attention to what is. This book is full of a life insisting on its own richness, carried out in spite of what can’t be avoided.”

—Daisy Fried, author of The Year the City Emptied

The milieu of Flare, Corona, is at once literal and metaphorical: what blooms in the water and soil of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, ultimately blooms in the bodies of those who grew up there. This collection effortlessly toggles between what feels endangered in the macro-political scale of contemporary American society, and in the micro-medical reality of our speaker: “My first flare came on the week of the solar eclipse / when the shadow fell cold over us, and the birds stopped singing.” What’s astonishing about this collection is how the poet showcases her trademark dark humor and vivid hyperbole—all the while pulling the reader in close to consider, frankly and with earned insight, the experience of chronic illness. Crafty uses of parallel structure and self-portraiture elevate personal narratives into poems that will outlive any apocalypse. This is an immersive, terrific read. “

—Sandra Beasley, author of Made to Explode

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