I planned to write this week’s politics newsletter about our strong Afghanistan coverage over the past week.

But last night was filled with howling wind and rain. This morning brought countless images of flooding and destruction from Maryland to Massachusetts, including tornado damage in New Jersey. The early part of the week was filled with dispatches from Louisiana’s lowlands, awash in stormwaters.

I felt so swamped by bad news by the time I got up this morning, I wondered, what’s next? Locusts?

So instead, I bring you balm from poet, teacher and essayist Rachel Hadas, whose story “‘Work with hope’ – a poet and classics scholar on facing the flood of bad news,” was published today. A lyrical observer of daily life whose poetry has been featured in the New Yorker, Hadas has an ability to make texts – from Homer to Emily Dickinson to modern poets and philosophers – come alive for today’s readers. But while recognizing their contemporary significance, she also helps us see how our feelings and thoughts about what seem like our own era’s peculiar – and terrible – problems are as old as the ages. There’s comfort in that:

“We’re in a prolonged period of maddeningly, scarily bad news – and if we follow the 24-hour news cycle, we’re in it up to our chins,” Hadas writes. “But how good has the news ever been? Precisely when or what was the Golden Age? Poet Randall Jarrell wrote, with tongue in cheek, that it’s when people went around complaining how yellow everything looked. Even under dire conditions, most people go on doing what they do for as long as they can.”

Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

What, more depressing news? Rolling Camera/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

‘Work with hope’ – a poet and classics scholar on facing the flood of bad news

Rachel Hadas, Rutgers University - Newark

Rachel Hadas says that despite the cascade of scary news, humans will adapt, as they always have – and provides evidence of that resilience in the literature she loves and teaches.

A nurse displays a real COVID-19 vaccination card. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

Is it a crime to forge a vaccine card? And what’s the penalty for using a fake?

Christopher Robertson, Boston University; Wesley Oliver, Duquesne University

People who forge their own vaccine cards, or buy forged cards, are already facing legal problems, including criminal charges.

Evictions continued despite the ban imposed during the pandemic. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Even with the eviction moratorium, landlords continued to find ways to kick renters out

Matthew Fowle, University of Washington; Rachel Fyall, University of Washington

‘Informal evictions’ in which landlords harass or pressure tenants out of their homes continued during the the pandemic and may have even seen an increase.