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Tag: Poetry


Tracy K. Smith Is Named 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate

The Princeton University professor and Pulitzer Prize winner says she plans to bring poetry events “to parts of the country where literary festivals don’t always go.”

Posted on Jun 14, 2017 READ MORE


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Czeslaw Milosz: A Life

A new biography of one of the most significant poets of the past century shows what it was like to be politically engaged and spiritually conflicted in the 20th century.

Posted on May 19, 2017 READ MORE



On the Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko

The “poetician, not politician” always seemed conscious of the Russian adage that a great writer is more than a writer—he is a second government. (Yevtushenko is pictured here with Katrina vanden Heuvel.) 

Posted on Apr 6, 2017 READ MORE



Poems From the Pond

Peggy Freydberg’s sharp sense of humor and observation are at odds with this book’s presentation.

Posted on Mar 31, 2017 READ MORE



A Poem on Generations Witnessing Cycles of Death and Destruction (Audio)

Tamiko Beyer’s poem serves as a painful reminder of how “horde white-hot power” causes “rage that liquefies/ our hearts, whole communities.”

Posted on Feb 1, 2017 READ MORE



Poet Asks, ‘Does Everything Depend Upon the Price of Oil?’ (Audio)

In face of a new administration that may deny climate change, Carolyne Wright reminds us about the blood and tears shed over petroleum for so many years.

Posted on Jan 18, 2017 READ MORE



A Poem Close to the Bone for Many in 2016

“I can tell something bad is happening in the world when my poem is surging,” says “Good Bones” author Maggie Smith.

Posted on Jan 13, 2017 READ MORE


Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti Tells Robert Scheer: I Am Not a Beat!

Truthdig’s editor in chief asks the co-founder of San Francisco’s famed City Lights Bookstore to discuss his life and his work with writers of the Beat Generation.

Posted on Jan 6, 2017 WATCH & LISTEN



Best of Truthdig’s Book Reviews 2016: Top Reads, From Economics to Politics and Even Genetics

In a year of many upheavals, it’s no surprise that books on income inequality, political protest and global warming would wind up on our top 10 literary list of the past year. But there’s also room for a little comedy and some ancient history among the picks.

Posted on Dec 26, 2016 READ MORE



‘Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise’ Weaves a Rich Fabric From the Author’s Lived History

New documentary featuring Angelou’s own narration delves deeply into the life of the iconic civil rights activist, poet, dancer and singer.

Posted on Oct 14, 2016 READ MORE



Dylan, the American Left, and What We Have Lost

Bob Dylan would no doubt be as distressed as the American corporate media to see an ideological interpretation of his 1960s anthems that helped win him the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Posted on Oct 14, 2016 READ MORE



Sherman Alexie on Writing ‘Thunder Boy Jr.’ for Brown Kids and Growing Into His Own Name

In his latest work, an illustrated children’s book, the acclaimed writer tackles new territory, drawing from his relationship to his name, his father and his tribal roots.

Posted on Jun 21, 2016 READ MORE



‘Big Stink, Necessary Evil’: A Poem That Will Change Your Perspective on the Atomic Bombings (Audio)

Jill McDonough’s poem on the planes that followed and photographed the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II is a harrowing depiction of the justifications that follow mass destruction.

Posted on May 25, 2016 READ MORE



Remembering the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit Priest and Peace Activist

He was a man of the cloth and a man of letters, but most of all, Berrigan was a man of peace. He was also, as it happened, the man whom Kurt Vonnegut went so far as to call “Jesus as a poet.”

Posted on May 1, 2016 READ MORE



‘World Within World’: A Poem About a Haunting Image That Sums Up American Imperialism (Audio)

David Ray begins his powerful poem with a rumination on a photograph of an American airman hitting golf balls on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The image was published in The New York Times in 2003.

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 READ MORE



‘Homeboy Creative’ Series: How People Relate to Authority Is Never Simply Black or White

The topic of the day is authority figures: police, teachers, parents and correctional officers.

Posted on Mar 25, 2016 READ MORE



‘Homeboy Creative’ Series: The Simplicity and Power of Kindness and Acceptance (Multimedia)

Profound wisdom can come from unexpected places. The creative writing class at Homeboy Industries is one of them.

Posted on Mar 24, 2016 READ MORE



How Homeboy Industries Helps People Make Positive Choices and Rebuild Their Lives (Multimedia)

How do we create a community of mutual kinship, love and respect? That is the goal of a gang-prevention program in Los Angeles.

Posted on Mar 23, 2016 READ MORE



‘Homeboy Creative’ Showcases Poetry by At-Risk Youths and Former Gang Members (Multimedia)

The nonprofit organization in Los Angeles provides hope for at-risk youths, former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women. Truthdig will be featuring writers from Homeboy Industries in a series called “Homeboy Creative.”

Posted on Mar 22, 2016 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 Mar 2, 2016 READ MORE



Emblems of the Passing World

Poet Adam Kirsch, inspired by the photographs of August Sander, has created an important book about one of the 20th century’s most devastating eras. He especially illuminates a Germany that would soon be filled with the cancer of Nazism.

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 READ MORE



AUDIO: ‘Asterisk: A Glyph’: A Forceful Poem About Why ‘Forsaken People … Turn Athletes Into Gods’

Hakim Bellamy, Albuquerque’s first poet laureate, writes a series of questions about reactions to the tennis star Serena Williams that will echo in your mind for days on end.

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 READ MORE



AUDIO: ‘Juggling Excess and Imbalance in a Time of Drones’: The Unequal Equations of Our Time

Amy Uyematsu’s poem, inspired by Juan Felipe Herrera’s “Fuzzy Equations,” is a powerful litany of expressions that get to the heart of our modern age.

Posted on Feb 3, 2016 READ MORE



A Rare Victory for Freedom of Speech in Turkey, as Pianist Is Allowed to Quote Omar Khayyam

In a win for freedom of speech in Turkey, the country’s Supreme Court of Appeals has completely overturned a lower court ruling that sentenced world-famous pianist Fazil Say to a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison.

Posted on Dec 29, 2015 READ MORE



The Best Truthdig Poetry of 2015

Here are the 10 poems that readers liked best from our very own original political poetry series, inaugurated this year.

Posted on Dec 21, 2015 READ MORE



In Dark Times, Poetry Can Enlighten Us

Artists are coming together to commemorate victims of violence and create bridges between America and the Middle East.

Posted on Dec 17, 2015 READ MORE



Gov. Jerry Brown Names Dana Gioia, Former Chairman of the NEA, California Poet Laureate

The California governor announced earlier this month that Dana Gioia would take over the Golden State post, replacing Juan Felipe Herrera, who recently became U.S. poet laureate.

Posted on Dec 14, 2015 READ MORE



I Am the Beggar of the World

In a striking collection of underground poetry written by Afghan women—and punctuated by photographs from the women’s lives—voices that are often silenced speak out about topics as varied as the Taliban, American occupation, sex, poverty, domestic abuse, marriage, Guantanamo and George W. Bush.

Posted on Dec 11, 2015 READ MORE



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



‘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


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