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On Poetry

Thematic essays on beauty, politics, poetic forms, and more.

The Listening World: Neurodivergent Poets from Unrestricted Interest

Imagine your brain is a nest of highly charged wires, many of them overlapping in ways that bring you startling and multidimensional impressions of the world. Then imagine these same wires threaten at all times to overwhelm your ability to engage with that world.

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Escape into Time

This poem is reprinted from Art in Print. The November-December 2018 issue focuses on the relationship between poetry and the printed image, including works by William Blake, Blaise Cendrars, Augusto de Campos, Martin Wong, Deryn Rees-Jones and Kate Wakeling as well as new poems from Mary Jo Bang, Timothy Donnelly, Mónica de la Torre, Major Jackson and others.

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So Far So Good: On Ursula K. Le Guin

Accepting her Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Foundation, Ursula K. Le Guin called on "poets, visionaries and realists of a new reality" to become hopeful agents of change. I've watched the video of her speech many times for inspiration about what it means to work in the literary arts, and I believe that brilliant poems are agents of change that allow insights into new realities.

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Take Note: Eleven New Collections by Asian American Poets

When I was first discovering poetry late in my undergrad years, you could usually find me sitting cross-legged in the Humanities wing of our mighty campus library, pouring over collections and dusty back-copies of hallowed literary magazines. This was pre-blogs, pre-online journals, pre YouTube—the popular internet as we know it was just starting to crackle alive in those years. 1995: I was just issued my first email address. I didn't know what to do with it except to say hello with perhaps a goofy joke to my dorm friends or younger sister.

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The Pale of Vermont

After I left Boston for Vermont in the summer of 1986, I thought that now, at last, I would have my own life. I felt like a man who goes to Europe to find himself. But instead I was going into the woods. Fewer than forty-five people lived in Brownsville at the foot of Mount Ascutney when Giff and I leased a small house on a hundred acres and took a couple of teaching jobs in the public schools.

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Brooklyn as a Bottomless Cup

The following essay is reprinted from Brooklyn Poets Anthology, a landmark collection which gathers 170 contemporary poets that call the Brooklyn home.

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The Unamuno Author Series by Spencer Reece

In the back courtyard of the Episcopal Cathedral in Madrid when I first arrived under the behest of the Amy Lowell grant, a poetry series started. Organically. Sometimes I have pushed this or that thing into existence in my life, but the older I get—now early fifties—I have experienced the joy of being led by a will greater than my own. This series feels propelled by something greater than me. A groundswell passion for poetry to spread outside the United States. To share sentiments and ideas between cultures and languages. I want to share my joy with you.

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