Art in the Time of Corona

A list of art, music and literature to get you through these stressful times.
March 15, 2020

When things are in crisis, I sometimes find myself questioning what the point of art is. As a creative writer myself, I wonder if focusing on literature is a frivolous thing — after all, there are bigger problems in the world. And yet. Who among us has not turned to a rapturous piece of music or an achingly good film or a breathtaking poem in times of fear or heartbreak or anxiety? Art heals the spirit and soul.

In these trying times, we recognize that you may be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety than usual. Hell, we are too. So we made a list. Of online-accesible poems, songs, art, literature, and other work created by folks in our own community that allow us to feel seen, that make us laugh, that help us mourn, that teach us how to make sense of the world, that offer us comfort, that feel palliative to the soul. These are a small sample of the works that uplift us and keep us going. We hope they'll help you too.

This is an evolving list that we may continue to add to over time as our editors, staff, family/friends, and others in our community make new suggestions, so check back for updates. We also welcome you to share what uplifts you in the comments.




"Portable Cities" by Sally Wen Mao
"Build, Now, A Monument" by Matthew Olzmann
"On Teaching My Son How To Mourn" by Khaty Xiong
"Reionization" and "This City" by Eugenia Leigh
"One Day You'll Look in the Mirror and See Lions (II)" by Mia Ayumi Malhotra
"National Anthem" and "Let's Go Crazy" by W. Todd Kaneko
"The Last Thing, Or Song For When They Take It All Away" and "Brokeheart: Just Like That" by Patrick Rosal
"Self-Help For Fellow Refugees" and "I Ask My Mother to Sing" by Li-Young Lee
"If They Should Come for Us" by Fatimah Asghar
To the Bone by Angela Narciso Torres
List of Asian American poets via Poetry Foundation and the Asian American Poetry issue of Poetry magazine for more poetry!


"A List of Places My Mother Was Old" by Mahreen Sohail
"Wudang Mountain" by Catherine Chung
“Writing Advice for My Younger Self” by E.J. Koh in Catapult
"Six Notes of Cicada Songs" by Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi
"Daughters' Bodies" by Sabrina Helen Li
Our Island of Epidemics by Matthew Salesses
"Dislikes the Sea, but Will Venture Upon It If Necessary" by Greg Pak
"Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang
"Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu
"Lucky Dragon" by Viet Dinh
Backyard Politics by Christine Hyung-Oak Lee

Comics / Visual Literature

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
Gene Luen Yang doodles his book tour for his YA graphic memoir, Dragon Hoops

Visual Art

Emmen Jaan
ZHK Designs
Ruth Asawa
Xiaojing Yan
Genevieve Quick
Do Ho Suh
Stephanie Shih
Jerry Ma

Performing Arts

Asian American Jesus by Samantha Chanse

Film & TV

Chan is Missing directed by Wayne Wang
Side by Side: Out of a South Korean Orphanage and Into the Worlddocumentary film project by Glenn Morey and Julie Morey
Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Netflix)
Fresh Off the Boat (ABC/Hulu)
Yappie (Wong Fu Productions)

Music & Audio


The Long Goodbye by Riz Ahmed
Kishi Bashi
Home:Word by Magnetic North & Taiyo Na
Japanese Breakfast
Dengue Fever

Spoken Word

I Was Born with Two Tongues by Broken Speak


Write or Die Podcast hosted by Kat Cho and Caribel Ortega
See Something Say Something hosted by Ahmed Ali Akbar
The Lit Fantastic hosted by Neil Aitken
Asian Not Asian hosted by Michael Nguyen and Fumi Abe


Karissa Chen


Karissa Chen is Editor-in-Chief of Hyphen magazine. She also serves as the Senior Literature Editor.