The cover of SHIELD. The top and bottom are white, with "Jamie Hale" in turquoise and "Shield" in pink at the top, and "Verve Poetry Press" in pink at the bottom. Across the middle are four stripes - yellow, pink, navy, and turquoise. On top of them, almost in the shape of a shield, is a face mask

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An extraordinary voice

Jack Thorne

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remember / tidal volume is estimated based on // what’s left in the lung as it closes / remember love is based on tides / as they come in closer


Jamie Hale writes the poetry of survival. They are bold in their naming and lyrical in their honouring.

-Raymond Antrobus

As the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, Jamie was warned by the doctor that due to their underlying health they would not be a priority for critical care treatment. Using the compressed form of a sonnet, they kept rewriting and re-experiencing different voices and identities to explore what it means to face one’s mortality so directly, suddenly, and unexpectedly.

This work became a pamphlet, Shield, following Jamie through the grief of facing death while newly married, and into a place of resilience, resistance, and a commitment to creation against mortality.

i’d rather die  / as i’ve lived as i’ve lived filled with love and / i’d rather die fierce as myself

These are arresting, heart-stopping poems lit with a rare intensity. Hale’s poems don’t pull any punches, they explore what it is to live in a body and on the way touch the centre of the fragility deep inside all of us. Humane poems that will make you ache

Mona Arshi