I’ve long found personal resonance in Adrienne Rich’s description of the struggle to be home with young children while also seeking to do intellectual and creative work. What I didn’t expect in rereading her 1976 classic was how uncannily similar her descriptions of the mid-century institution of motherhood would
Juan Felipe Herrera’s 2020 poetry collection suggests that to sustain the kind of attention that leads to embodied care, to structural justice and community support, we will need both rage and dancing, ranting indictments and ancestral wisdom. Outrage and tenderness are not competing forces but mutually sustaining.
For readers who share his sensitivity to the spiritual, Kaveh Akbar forges an interfaith poetics based on shared humanity and sharply rendered difference, manifested in an ethics of interruption. We find each other, the collection seems to say, in our shared search for the divine, wounded and harnessing the
Joy Harjo’s signature project as the twenty-third U.S. Poet Laureate is one of mapmaking: gathering poems by forty-seven Native Nations poets in a cartography of voice. This poetic map acknowledges other maps of colonial violence and erasure, and while poetry can offer no full answer to the pain, it
Monica West's debut novel exposes the inevitable risks and losses that come along with disentanglement from family and church structures. Her protagonist's strength, coming-into-power, and voice are compelling, but they are costly.
The new anthology, edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman, documents last summer’s period of quarantine and protest, bewilderment and commitment. Over the pages, the resonances build like voices gathered in a street singing justice songs.
The scope of grief is unimaginable. So is the scope of joy. Our first task is to pay attention, but Annie Dillard reminds us it doesn’t end there: our work is also to try to tip the balance.
CM Burroughs’s poems invite intersubjective understanding, even “so much empathy,” while also insisting on the speaker’s self-ownership, the space between self and other. They interrogate mastery and also resist it; the collection is rife with rich ambiguities.
Ross Gay’s book-length poem suggests that within the horror show of objectified Black pain and the not-finished history of stolen Black bodies, the answer is a community that holds each other with care and beholds in Black lives not just suffering but life, dignity, complexity—and joy.