Americas Change a Poetic View

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Two very different new books, one by Naomi Shihab Nye and one by Kent Johnson, turn epistolary toward remarkably similar and fierce political ends. For myself, I am always asking: At the same time, I ask: Rare is the poet who doesn't view himself as deeply invested in political life, and yet the sloppy, compromised, and frequently idiotic business of democracy—which is, for all its flaws, the way most political changes occur in this country—rarely attracts the attention of our best poets.

American literature | Timeline, History, & Facts |

Is this the inevitable order of things? I have been working on a book that tries to pull together some kind of answer to the question Orr poses. If I'm lucky, all my rooting around in dingy archives in pursuit of an answer will also produce a thesis or two on a related question, one raised not long ago in a post by Lucia Perillo on the Poetry Foundation's "Harriet" blog: I find this condition perplexing and troubling—both for poetry and for democracy. Is Biespiel advocating for more politics in poems?

Fewer arguments about poetics for the good of the nation? Arguments about poetics are good for poetry. And have nothing whatsoever to do with public life, whether your poetics are politically-grounded or not. Elizabeth Alexander on how the Derek Walcott-toting, June Jordan-quoting president will affect poets and poetry.

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Hear who Elizabeth Alexander would have picked and her thoughts on Frost and other past inaugural poets. How Seamus Heaney defines Ireland's troubles with a portrait of a drunken seaman blown up in a pub.

Political Poems

Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Poets lend voices to current events and elections as they critique and defend the social and political issues of their day.

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Photograph courtesy of Daniel Mennerich via Flickr. Praise Song for the Day. Something we were withholding made us weak Until we found out that it was ourselves. Of History and Hope.

A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

Looking Back to Look Ahead: Poems about democracy, freedom, wonder, and other ideals that have survived centuries. Izalco roars, taking more lives. Not one kingdom was left us. One by one they fell through all the Americas. Steel rang in palaces, in the streets, in the forests and the centaurs sacked the temple. In Izalco no one believes that Tlaloc is dead despite television, refrigerators, Toyotas.

Changing the World, One Word at a Time!

Central America trembled, Managua collapsed. In Guatemala the earth sank Hurricane Fifi flattened Honduras. The golden coffee is unloaded in New York where they roast it, grind it can it and give it a price. Siete de Junio noche fatal bailando el tango la capital. The cycle is closing, Cuscatlecan flowers thrive in volcanic ash, they grow strong, tall, brilliant.

The owners of two-story houses protected from thieves by walls peer from their balconies and they see the red waves descending and they drown their fears in whiskey. Cuba and Puerto Rico are two wings of the same bird: Tattoo the Puerto Rican flag on my shoulder. Stain the skin red, white and blue, not the colors that snap over holiday parades or sag over the graves of veterans in the States, but the colors of Cuba reversed: Wise Men lost on their way to Bethlehem. The essential gift book for any pet lover - real-life tales of devoted dogs, rebellious cats and other unforgettable four-legged friends.

A complete edition of John James Audubon's world famous The Birds of America, bound in linen and beautifully presented in a special slipcase. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Thursday 20 September Poetry and Play Book Reviews.

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