The Weighing

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“So few grains of happiness / measured against all the dark / and still the scales balance.” In this video produced by the Academy of American Poets, Jane Hirshfield reads “The Weighing” from the new anthology, Here: Poems for the Planet, which will be published this week by Copper Canyon Press. The anthology includes poems by Margaret Atwood, Kwame Dawes, Ross Gay, Nikki Giovanni, Robert Hass, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Mary Oliver, and others.

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Glenn Close Reads Jenny Xie

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Glenn Close reads “Old Wives’ Tales on Which I Was Fed” from Jenny Xie’s debut collection, Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018), which won the Academy of American Poets’ 2017 Walt Whitman Award. Eye Level is featured in Page One in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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We Real Cool

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This short film, created by Manual Cinema in association with Crescendo Literary, uses puppetry to imagine the life of Gwendolyn Brooks and the inspiration for her poem “We Real Cool.” The film was produced by Poetry Foundation with the story by Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall, and music by Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods. For more on Brooks, read “Grant Me a Voice, and Speaking Eyes” by Angela Jackson.

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Patrick Rosal

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“Poems engage our imagination such that the confusion is not the end point.” Patrick Rosal, who won the Academy of American Poets’ 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his fourth collection, Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea Books, 2016), talks about the importance of art and reads several of his poems at the Loft Literary Center.

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Nicole Sealey Reads for P.O.P.

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Nicole Sealey reads William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 6 and her poem “Even the Gods” from her debut collection, Ordinary Beast (Ecco, 2017), for the P.O.P series, which was was shot and edited by Rachel Eliza Griffiths in partnership with the Academy of American Poets. Sealey discusses poetry and craft with Dawn Lundy Martin in “Vagrant & Vulnerable” in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Summer Morning

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“I know all the dark places / Where the sun hasn’t reached yet...” In this vintage video for the Poetry Breaks series, Charles Simic reads his poem “Summer Morning,” which he says needs no introduction. The Academy of American Poets has partnered with Leita Luchetti, who produced and directed the series in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to bring back these videos.

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Tracy K. Smith

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“In my own writing, I feel safest when I’m farthest from what I know.” Tracy K. Smith reads “Digging” by Seamus Heney, the poem she feels “invited her to start writing poetry,” and from “My God, It’s Full of Stars,” a poem she wrote about her father. This video, part of the P.O.P. series, was shot and edited by Rachel Eliza Griffiths in partnership with the Academy of American Poets.

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Patricia Spears Jones

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“Don’t be afraid. Someone has walked this way before, all the world’s music in her hands.” Patricia Spears Jones reads “Discovering America Again” by Lorenzo Thomas, her own poem “The Birth of Rhythm and Blues,” and talks about what it means to be a literary citizen. This video, part of the P.O.P. series, was shot and edited by Rachel Eliza Griffiths in partnership with the Academy of American Poets. Spears Jones is the eleventh winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize.

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Lucille Clifton on Poetry

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“For me, poetry is a way of living in the world.” In this vintage video from the Poetry Breaks series, Lucille Clifton reflects on what poetry is and how it is not about answers, but rather questions. The Academy of American Poets has partnered with Leita Luchetti, who produced and directed the series in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to bring back these videos.

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Afaa Michael Weaver

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“I see myself in the shadows of a leaf.” Afaa Michael Weaver reads his poem “Self Portrait” and Lucille Clifton’s poem “My Dream About God” for the P.O.P. series, which was shot and edited by Rachel Eliza Griffiths in partnership with the Academy of American Poets. Weaver’s poetry collection Spirit Boxing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017) is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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