'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, as it turns out, their place in community. It is likely what Safiya Sinclair means in her elegant poem, 'The Ragged and the Beautiful', published in the always engaging “immigrant and refugee” journal,...

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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 the hand and then, recovered, it flies away. Then we return to the title, 'Divorce,' and we see it’s...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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American Life in Poetry

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