Merging documentary poetry from the epicenter of an epidemic with the story of viruses in the evolution of humanity, If God Is A Virus gives voice to the infected and the virus.
Based on original reporting from West Africa and the United States, and the poet’s experiences as a doctor and journalist, If God Is A Virus charts the course of the largest and deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, telling the stories of Ebola survivors, outbreak responders, journalists and the virus itself. Documentary poems explore which human lives are valued, how editorial decisions are weighed, what role the aid industrial complex plays in crises, and how medical myths and rumor can travel faster than microbes.
These poems also give voice to the virus. Eight percent of the human genome is inherited from viruses and the human placenta would not exist without a gene descended from a virus. If God Is A Virus reimagines viruses as givers of life and even authors of a viral-human self-help book.
Dr. Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, medical doctor, disease detective and author of If God Is A Virus. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting in 2017 with her team from The Dallas Morning News for coverage of a mass shooting. Yasmin was a disease detective in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she chased outbreaks in maximum-security prisons, American Indian reservations, border towns and hospitals. Currently, Dr. Yasmin is a Stanford professor, medical analyst for CNN and science correspondent for Conde Nast Entertainment. Find her at seemayasmin.com, Twitter @DoctorYasmin and Instagram: @drseemayasmin.
Steven Thrasher, is a Scientific American columnist and the Daniel H. Renberg chair at Northwestern University’s Medill School, and a faculty member of Northwestern’s Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Viral Underclass: How Racism, Ableism and Capitalism Plague Humans on the Margins, from Celdaon Books and Macmillan Publishing.