A Short Story of Falling

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“What I love about water is that it spends its whole time falling,” begins Alice Oswald as she introduces her poem “A Short Story of Falling” from her 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize–winning collection, Falling Awake (Jonathan Cape, 2016). “It’s always, apparently, trying to find the lowest place possible and when it finds the lowest place possible, it lies there wide awake.”

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

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“When she first moved in, she endured months of casual cruelty like a tree would—without flinching.” In this video, Arundhati Roy reads from the first chapter of her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Knopf, 2017). Roy speaks about her much-anticipated book in “Worth the Wait” by Renée H. Shea in the July/August issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Chen Chen on Vulnerability

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“To me, it always comes back to, ‘What are the real questions that I want to ask through the piece?’ And then it becomes an act, not so much of representation...but it’s more a matter of discovery.” In this 2019 episode of The Poetry Vlog, Chen Chen reads the titular poem from his collection, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), and discusses the process of expressing vulnerability authentically on the page. For more Chen, read his series of Craft Capsule essays.

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Tracy K. Smith at the Bookworm in Beijing

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“Great stones of whitewater / hammer down.” In this 2017 reading at the Bookworm, an independent bookstore in Beijing, Tracy K. Smith reads a translation of Yi Lei’s poem “Huangguoshu Waterfall,” included in My Name Will Grow Wide Like a Tree (Graywolf Press, 2020), translated from the Chinese by Changtai Bi and Smith, which is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Phillip B. Williams Reads Kayleb Rae Candrilli

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“Once on the back porch my lab barked / and barked. / he was always spooked / by something, garter snake, black / snake, rabbit.” In this Ours Poetica video produced in collaboration with the Poetry Foundation, Phillip B. Williams reads an untitled poem by Kayleb Rae Candrilli from their debut book, What Runs Over (YesYes Books, 2017).

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Can A.I. Write Poetry?

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In this video produced by the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, professors and students weigh in on whether artificial intelligence has the capacity to write poetry. David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour: New and Selected Poems (Ecco, 2017), and Shakespeare scholar Bruce Smith speak on behalf of human poets.

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Roxane Gay Reads From Hunger

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“I’ve always found that the things I find the most intimidating end up being the most intellectually satisfying.” At the Louisiana Literature Festival in 2019, Roxane Gay speaks about what moved her to write Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Harper, 2017), and begins her reading with a piece about loving Mister Rogers.

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