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November 29, 2015
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Tag: Poetry

AUDIO: ‘What War Is Good For’: A Painful Indictment of What Has Now Become the American Way

Jay Sizemore’s poem ponders why the U.S. is involved in war after war, a question that becomes increasingly relevant as the country continues interfering in the Middle East.

Posted on Nov 25, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Where There Is Rust’: A Timely Poem About Knowledge in an Age of Deceptive Discourse

“Let this inform you how/ to be informed” begin Peter Burzynski’s scathing couplets on critical thinking at a time when misinformation floods our daily lives.

Posted on Nov 11, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Thin Ice’: A Poem About Motherhood in the Age of Climate Change

Penelope Moffet’s poem, based on a Los Angeles Times article that narrates the story of a polar bear who loses her infant cub as she swims hundreds of miles to reach the nearest ice floe in an ever-melting Arctic sea, beautifully illustrates the effects of the man-made destruction of the natural world.

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 READ MORE

‘The Inheritance of Trauma’: A Poem Explores How Suffering Leaves a Mark on Future Generations

Based on a study that posits that the children of Holocaust survivors may inherit genes altered by their parents’ trauma, Megan Collins’ poem beautifully ponders how to live with the tragic fact that “blood remembers blood.”

Posted on Oct 14, 2015 READ MORE

W.H. Auden, Complete

These six volumes of the work of W.H. Auden call to mind the great poet’s comment on the writing of another author: “It is a book in which one can browse for a lifetime without exhausting its treasures.”

Posted on Sep 25, 2015 READ MORE

‘Channeling James Wright’: A Satirical Poem With an Important Message

Shelley Puhak updates James Wright’s “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” to give it a modern political twist. The full title of her poem is “Channeling James Wright Near a Sand Mining Site in Minnesota.”

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 READ MORE

Black Lives Matter Is Taking a Page Out of Edward Snowden’s Book

The Black Lives Matter movement is interested in learning from the NSA whistleblower; a Caucasian poet submitting work under an Asian name has caused controversy in the literary world; meanwhile, “superhenge,” a Neolithic site five times the size of Stonehenge, was recently discovered. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Most Officials Agree the Epidemic Could Have Been Contained Earlier’

Poet Sonia Greenfield ruminates over the racism and ethnocentrism involved in international responses to epidemics, including the recent Ebola outbreak, which was mostly concentrated in West Africa.

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Love in the Time of Climate Change’: A Romantic Call to Action in the Shape of a Poem

Jocelyn Macdonald’s poem about the environmental crisis will have you quitting meat, riding your bike, chasing your dreams and spooning the love by your side, all to “slow down the rising of seas, the death of the bees [and] the electric current of spreading disease.”

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Rigour’: A Poem Digs Beneath ‘Third World’ Tropes in the Media

Khairani Barokka’s poignant poem highlights how Western reports of casualties in the developing world, even when the dead in question are children, are often recorded with indifference toward the human lives lost.

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 READ MORE

‘A Small Needful Fact’: Possibly the Most Heartbreaking Piece on Eric Garner You’ll Read

Ross Gay’s unforgettable poem about Eric Garner—who was choked to death by an NYPD officer last July—reads like a memorial wreath, delicately pieced together with pain and sprouts of hope.

Posted on Jul 1, 2015 READ MORE

Truthdigger of the Week: Juan Felipe Herrera, the Next U.S. Poet Laureate

The Californian has been a powerful voice in telling the Latino story, but his reach is not limited by culture. In his new post he wants to use poetry as a force for unity—“to bring us closer together. That’s the heart of it.”

Posted on Jun 14, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘Your Body Is a Dark Axiom ... ’: A Forceful Poem About Immigration Reform Activism

Purvi Shah’s poem collects the voices and stories of some of the women who fasted to promote immigration reform as part of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.

Posted on Jun 3, 2015 READ MORE

AUDIO: ‘The Amazon Is Not for Sale’: a Poem About the Destruction of the Environment for Profit

L.E. Goldstein’s lyrical lines fill the imagination with the beauty of an area that is quickly becoming one of the many casualties of a world overrun with capitalist greed and corruption.

Posted on May 13, 2015 READ MORE

‘Still Death’: a Hard-Hitting Poem About Predator Drones (Audio)

Jill McDonough’s poem drives home the idea that when it comes to the many lives taken in our ongoing drone wars, “On the screen or on the ground, death observed is still death.”

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 READ MORE

‘Agent Orange’: a Poem About the Terrible Legacy the U.S. Left in Vietnam

As the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon approaches, Paul Lobo Portugés’ moving poem serves as a reminder of the pernicious and long-lasting effects American interventionism has had in Vietnam.

Posted on Apr 15, 2015 READ MORE

‘Each Breath Despite the Air’: A Poet’s View of Gaza From America

Kenji Liu’s poem about the 2014 conflict in Gaza is especially poignant to listen to as news of the Palestinian Authority joining the International Criminal Court spreads.

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 READ MORE

‘Shock Wave’: A Compelling Poem About the Boston Marathon Bombings

Leslie McGrath’s poem gives us an intimate look into a person’s mind in the immediate aftermath of the April 15, 2013, tragedy.

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 READ MORE

‘Kia’: A Poem That Reflects a Group’s Struggle for Better Working Conditions

Paul Hlava describes series “Negotiations” as a collage of “language, metaphors and quotes, from managers, workers and management flyers” that were used during a vote to form a collective bargaining unit.

Posted on Mar 4, 2015 READ MORE

‘Cycle’: A Poem to Remind Us of Lives Lost Before the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Before Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, before Eric Garner was choked to death in New York and before the #BlackLivesMatter movement had even begun, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and countless other unarmed black men had been slain by police.

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 READ MORE

Eugenia Keyser

That Bird Has My Wings: An Acrostic Pantoum About Death Row Prisoner Jarvis Jay Masters

Carolyne Wright’s touching poem echoes the powerful words of Jarvis Jay Masters, an African-American on death row in a California prison.

Posted on Feb 4, 2015 READ MORE

A Report to the City Commissioners: A Poem About Freedom and Privacy in the Surveillance Age

At a time when the surveillance state seems stronger than ever, award-winning poet David Wagoner reminds us that sometimes even the most regimented pursuits may lead to a freedom that can only be found in unexpected places.

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 READ MORE

Reciting This Bilingual Poem in Schools Apparently Violates Arizona’s Absurd Ethnic Studies Law

“Tú eres mi otro yo/ You are my other me,” begins a section of a poem often taught in Arizona classrooms.

Posted on Jan 14, 2015 READ MORE

Screen shot/YouTube

World Leaders Reportedly ‘Moved to Tears’ by Climate Change Poem Recital at U.N. Summit (Video)

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year-old poet from the Marshall Islands, wrote a lyrical letter to her daughter about a world that may be unrecognizable—thanks to global warming—by the time the infant comes of age.

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 READ MORE

W.T. Pfefferle (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye Discusses What It Was Like Growing Up in Palestine and Ferguson

Naomi Shihab Nye, a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and an award-winning writer, was raised in two of the most frequently discussed conflict zones in the news today. In a recent piece for The Washington Post, Nye talks about the lessons she learned while living in lands that are still divided by racial tensions.

Posted on Aug 30, 2014 READ MORE

A Conversation With Garry Wills

Truthdig talks with the writer/historian about his new book, “Making Make-Believe Real,” which considers Shakespeare and the political power of poetry.

Posted on Aug 22, 2014 READ MORE

‘Running Orders,’ a Powerful Poem by Palestinian-American Lena Khalaf Tuffaha on Gaza

There’s a poem circulating online, written from the voice of a Palestinian evacuee in Gaza, that is as gut wrenching as it is important.

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 READ MORE

Maya Angelou

Posted on May 31, 2014 READ MORE

Maya Angelou, Still She Rises

In remembering Maya Angelou, it is important to recall her commitment to the struggle for equality, not just for herself, or for women, or for African-Americans.

Posted on May 28, 2014 READ MORE

Meet Kim Jong Il’s Personal Poet Laureate

As spin-doctoring goes, Jang Jin Sung had one of the world’s hardest jobs.

Posted on May 13, 2014 READ MORE

Bury My Clothes

Posted on Apr 25, 2014 READ MORE

Bury My Clothes

For National Poetry Month, we look at Roger Bonair-Agard’s meditation on survival, race and establishing personhood in a world that says you have none.

Posted on Apr 25, 2014 READ MORE

Literature Wales / Llenyddiaeth Cymru (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Women, Poets Rejoice! There Are New Laureates in Town and They Happen to All Be Female

Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have all chosen women as their poet laureates this year.

Posted on Mar 5, 2014 READ MORE

Women Still Not Published as Often as Men in Arts Publications, but Who’s Counting?

VIDA: Women in Literary Arts released its much awaited annual pie charts Monday, demonstrating once again that the scales are tilted toward men when it comes to literary publications in the U.S. and U.K.

Posted on Feb 25, 2014 READ MORE

txikita69 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Arab-Iranian Poet Hanged as an ‘Enemy of God’

Human rights activist and bard Hashem Shaabani, who was a vocal critic of “the treatment of ethnic Arabs in the province of Khuzestan,” was executed in Iran in late January after almost three years in prison, where he was reportedly tortured. 

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 READ MORE

Call Me Burroughs

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 READ MORE

Call Me Burroughs

William S. Burroughs, the subject of a new biography, probes methods of subjugation—drugs, torture, sex, laws, cults, brainwashing and language. Still, there is always “one Mark you cannot beat. The Mark Inside.”

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 READ MORE

AP/Martin Cleaver

Doris Lessing, Voice for Many Ages, Dies at 94

Doris Lessing, an influential and prolific writer who made her mark in more than 50 novels, as well as short stories, essays and poems, died Sunday in London at age 94. 

Posted on Nov 17, 2013 READ MORE

United Nations Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Afghan Women Risk Lives to Write Poems

Although some female poets in Afghanistan have been killed by their male family members for penning poetry, many see it as an outlet to express their inner and outer worlds during a time of great national turmoil.

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 READ MORE

Neil Kremer (CC-BY-ND)

Punk Hostages Practice the Healing Power of Literature

Two veterans of L.A.’s punk scene are bringing books and creative writing to institutionalized people in prisons, shelters and recovery programs.

Posted on Sep 11, 2013 READ MORE

FreedomHouse (CC BY 2.0)

From the Rubble of the Syrian Civil War, Visceral Poetry Arises

Turning away from the religious metaphors of the past, Syria’s new verse relies on realistic, raw descriptions inspired by war and expresses the hope for a united country to be formed. But the outspoken nature of this emerging literary tradition comes at a price.

Posted on Sep 9, 2013 READ MORE

Burns Library, Boston College (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney Dies at 74

No anthology of Irish poetry (or, arguably, contemporary poetry) is complete without an entry penned by Seamus Heaney. Friday, the literary world lost a treasure when the renowned bard died in Dublin, after being hospitalized due to a fall.

Posted on Aug 31, 2013 READ MORE

Mariela De Marchi Moyano (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Eduardo Galeano: ‘This World Is Not Democratic at All’  (Video)

The “poet laureate of the anti-globalization movement,” who has been published here at Truthdig, says “the world is organized by the war economy and the war culture.”

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 READ MORE


Posted on May 27, 2013 READ MORE

Flickr/Humphrey King

A Time for ‘Sublime Madness’

Only in the depths of human imagination can we find the resources to fight against the ceaseless assaults on civil liberties and the planet itself. Only there can we unearth the strength and passion to resist.

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 READ MORE

Watch: Sean Bean Reads WWI Poetry

One of the bloodiest conflicts in human history ended 94 years ago this Sunday. Sometimes the saying is wrong, and a few carefully chosen words can be worth 1,000 images.

Posted on Nov 11, 2012 READ MORE

A Beast Bent on Grace

In Jack Gilbert’s poetry, the mythic anguish of Orpheus in the underworld suddenly seems fused with something very much like the room in which you sit.

Posted on May 17, 2012 READ MORE

Occupy Targets Obama

Occupy Des Moines protesters decide it’s high time to occupy the Democratic headquarters, and they won’t be the last; Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” gets more viewers than Fox News; and one of America’s most visible poets fell out of grace thanks to a racist poem. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Jan 1, 2012 READ MORE


A Poet’s-Eye View of Occupy Berkeley

When he caught wind of conflict between students and police on campus, former poet laureate and UC Berkeley professor Robert Hass rushed to the scene on Nov. 9, only to witness local riot police beating students—and eventually his wife and him, too—with billy clubs. (more)

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 READ MORE

Flickr / madelineyoki (CC-BY-SA)

The Last Weiner

For some light holiday reading, we offer this satirical little ditty composed by Larry Beinhart, the wordsmith who wrote the novel that gave birth to the movie “Wag the Dog.” At last, a winning solution to one of our nation’s most compromising and costly political problems.

Posted on Jul 4, 2011 READ MORE

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