'Watching the troubled people running and crying'

I have a memory of Lucille Clifton responding to a young poet who asked her how she managed to be a productive publishing poet despite having to raise six children, by saying, “I wrote shorter poems.” Of Clifton’s many brilliant truths, this stays with me.

And this pithy elegy, '5/23/67 R.I.P.', selected by Aracelis Girmay in a remarkable new gathering of Clifton’s poetry, would have been writt...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'I keep that scrap of paper in my pocket'

June Jordan died in 2002, an American child of Jamaican immigrants whose remarkable poetry is collected in The Essential June Jordan, a new collection published by Copper Canyon Press. This eloquent fist of a poem reminds us of what remains at stake in this longstanding and necessary conversation th...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'Mama, with an axe, trudged tirelessly each day through deep snow'

Missouri poet Kitty Carpenter could have chosen any number of titles for her poem, a moving and difficult accounting of how the roles of parent and child change as a result of the passing of time; but...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'Little one, it starts with a heart'

It must be one of the great mercies of life that time provides us with the magical capacity to turn memories of the complete alarm of caring for an infant child into a delightful bit of nostalgia. Adr...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'Here every flower grows ragged and sideways and always beautiful'

I have heard so many poets say that they feel like outcasts, until they meet other outcasts and dreamers, people who seem to feel like them, and suddenly they feel affirmed in their difference, and, a...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'Nothing moving but his quick beating heart'

José Alcantara’s poem, which appeared in the winter 2020 issue of Rattle, seems simple enough - a splendid and hopeful account of a familiar moment - a bird stunned by a collision with glass, held in ...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'We go nowhere for weeks. We're stiff and silent in these rows'

Only 0.03 per­ cent of us end up doing jury duty each year. But we all car­ry an aware­ness that it can be us next. Accord­ing to casi​no​.org a quar­ter of Amer­i­can adults serve on jury duty at lea...

Read and leave comments (1)

 

American Life in Poetry

Kwame Dawes takes over as editor of American Life in Poetry

Award-winning poet, author, and editor Kwame Dawes has published his first weekly column as American Life in Poetry editor, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

'They whirl out the door, the blue sky a sudden surprise'

Pat Emile, who served as assistant editor to American Life in Poetry for over a decade, was described by past editor Ted Kooser as the “Jill-Of-All-Trades for this column”. I was fortunate enough to e...

Read and leave comments (0)

 

American Life in Poetry

Archive of American Life in Poetry articles View all subjects

RSS feed icon

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message