This is Virus, published in June 2020, is a short pamphlet, created using the technique of erasure poetry (also known as blackout poetry), in which material is removed from a piece of source text, leaving just a few words on the page, to make a new work.
In April 2020, with the United Kingdom in lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, every household in the country received a letter from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, with an accompanying leaflet containing information and instructions for the public during this period.
This is Virus was created using that letter and leaflet as its source material.
“Harking back to Camus’ The Plague, Joe Williams uses the austerity of found poetry as an antidote to troubled times, in which our future – as Camus wrote – feels suppressed. The bleak isolation of these words may provide a meaning to ours.”
“In few words, This is Virus conveys real impact, and provides an effective commentary on the most topical of themes. A story whose ending we don’t as yet know. One we are living right now.”