Liao Yiwu was in his early 30s when he was arrested for writing and performing a poem about the brutality of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. A new memoir about his time in prison called “For a Song and A Hundred Songs” has just been published.
The Library of Congress reappointed U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to a second term on Monday. Though she is not the first in her position to receive the honor of an extended post, the announcement does have special meaning for us at the PBS NewsHour.
Poet and writer Gretel Ehrlich shares her reflections on the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, where she traveled to document the physical and emotional aftermath. Best known for her nature and travel writing, Ehrlich has authored 13 books, including three of poetry. Continue reading
Jeffrey Brown profiles David Ferry, a poet concerned with making connections to classical literature. Ferry was recently honored with the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize as well as the National Book Award for poetry. At age 88, he is currently tackling a translation of Virgil’s "Aeneid." Continue reading
Poet Richard Blanco is the first Hispanic and openly gay man to read the inaugural poem during a presidential inauguration. Like President Obama in his inaugural address, Blanco used poetry to emphasize the unity of the nation, the diversity of America’s people and the hard work that is part of the American ethic. Continue reading
Jeffrey Brown talks with Richard Blanco, the poet chosen to read at President Obama’s second swearing-in, about what it means to be a part of the festivities. Blanco, a Spanish born Cuban-American, is the first Latino, openly gay, as well as the youngest poet to ever at a presidential inauguration. Continue reading
“Print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre or approach.” Those were the ambitious words written 100 years ago by Harriet Monroe when she founded Poetry, now the oldest monthly journal devoted to verse. Jeffrey Brown speaks with the magazine’s editor, poet Christian Wiman, about a new anniversary collection. Continue reading
Jennifer Fitzgerald’s family and friends have been greatly impacted by superstorm Sandy, and though she immediately got involved in relief efforts in her Staten Island community, she felt that her poetry would be another way to reach a much larger audience and explain the physical and emotional impact Sandy had on New York. Continue reading
Sharon Olds shares work from her latest collection of poetry, "Stag’s Leap," a book grieving and healing at the end of a marriage. Olds also talks about her partner’s New Hampshire nature retreat where she spends her days, about finding her poetic voice in her 30s, and the "usefulness" of poetry. Continue reading
Billy Collins was the U.S. poet laureate at the time of the 9/11 attacks. A year later, he wrote "The Names" in honor of the victims. He read the poem before a special joint session of Congress held in New York City in 2002, and reads it again now. Continue reading