Martin James Network founder and chairperson, Jim Cockburn, has launched a collection of Covid-19 inspired poetry after falling ill with symptoms of the virus back in February.

Jim is usually known for his candid, straight-talking approach in business but he also has a surprising love for the arts, theatre and literature.

Like many of us during lockdown, Jim re-evaluated the things that brought him joy and he started to express himself through poetry.

It was here that Jim’s pseudonym, Basic Existential Boy, was born. He was inspired to write Covid Spring – a collection of 17 poems reflecting on the world we’ve come to witness during the pandemic.

The collection features pieces such as The Covid Singalong, Kick It Out Covid, and Covid the Crow, and analyses how the pandemic has radically altered British society, rendering everyday life virtually unrecognisable overnight.

The anthology is available to purchase on Amazon, with proceeds going to EPIC Youth – a project set up by the Martin James Foundation to help disadvantaged young people with business and entrepreneurial success.

Jim comments: “Lockdown created time and space for me to reflect and writing this poetry has been a cathartic experience, helping me to deal with the mixed emotions the pandemic has brought about.

“The Coronavirus has disrupted every part of our lives in profound ways and no one has been immune from the effects.

“Within the pages of the collection, I have tried to capture some of these momentous times, good and bad, with my verse as the drama unfolds.”

Fellow Brummie and renowned spoken word artist, Amerah Saleh, has brought a selection of the poems to life in a series of short performances on Basic Existential Boy’s YouTube and social media channels.

Amerah says: “It’s really important for me to connect with any work I take on, to feel the story and to be able to relate it to my life. These poems are a glimpse into what a lot of people are thinking and feeling around the world. The writing is poignant and raw, and that is the kind of thing I have always loved to read. To bring it to life feels like I’m able to share these important words into voice.

“Writing like this really hits home with life right now and allows you to reflect on the world as a whole rather than our micro-society. Basic Existential Boy looks at the bigger picture and how Covid-19 is impacting everyone’s lives.”

To watch Amerah’s performance of Covid App, visit https://youtu.be/EdbHyZFvI80, or to buy the Covid Spring anthology, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Covid-Spring-Basic-Existential-Boy/dp/1527268446.