Summer Solstice, New York City

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“Then they all came a little closer / where he squatted next to his death, his shirt / glowing its milky glow...” In this vintage video from the Poetry Breaks series, presented in partnership with the Academy of American Poets, Sharon Olds reads her poem “Summer Solstice, New York City” at a Martha’s Vineyard retreat.

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Jillian Weise

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Jillian Weise reads her poems “Semi Semi Dash,” “Café Loop,” and “Poem for His Girl,” from her second collection, The Book of Goodbyes (BOA Editions, 2013), at the Academy of American Poets’ 2013 Poets Forum Awards Ceremony. Weise’s third collection, Cyborg Detective (BOA Editions, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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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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