Remembering Donald Hall

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“Great blue mountain! Ghost. / I look at you / from the porch of the farmhouse / where I watched you all summer / as a boy,” reads the late Donald Hall from his poem “Mount Kearsarge” in this 2018 PBS NewsHour video commemorating his death at the age of eighty-nine. For more Hall, read “Fleeting: In Memory of Donald Hall” by Christopher Locke.

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House of Mercury by Fady Joudah

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“The storm funneled through town with destructive intent. / Fractured tree limbs, toppled fences, rippled shingles / like tufts of hair.” In this PBS NewsHour video, Fady Joudah reads “House of Mercury” from his poetry collection Tethered to Stars (Milkweed Editions, 2021), which is featured in Page One in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman

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“Poetry is an art form, but, to me, it’s also a weapon, it’s also an instrument. It’s the ability to make ideas that have been known, felt and said.” In this PBS NewsHour interview, Amanda Gorman speaks with Jeffrey Brown about her love of poetry and the writing process for her poem for this year’s presidential inauguration. Gorman is the nation’s first youth poet laureate and won a Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers in 2020.

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Toni Morrison on Beloved

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“I am convinced that the more I am well-known, the better known I am, the easier it is for other writers to come along,” says Toni Morrison in this 1987 interview with PBS NewsHour’s Charlayne Hunter-Gault on her success as an author and what inspired her novel Beloved, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

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W. S. Merwin on Writing Poems and Planting Trees

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“It would be silly to waste time daydreaming about, if only I were twenty years old again. It’s more interesting to figure out, how do I see the world now.” In this 2015 PBS NewsHour video, the late W. S. Merwin reflects on growing old and writing poems on the three acres of land he purchased in the late 1970s, now known as the Merwin Conservancy, an arts and ecology organization located on the island of Maui.

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Natasha Trethewey on Memorial Drive

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“I think that the body does not let you forget.” In this PBS NewsHour video, Natasha Trethewey reflects on the trauma of her mother’s murder, the subject of her book Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir (Ecco, 2020), and how the events led her to become a poet and writer. Trethewey is interviewed by Joshunda Sanders in “A Poetics of Resilience” in the July/August 2020 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Richard Powers on The Overstory

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“We like to think about people and nature as two separate things,” says Richard Powers speaking about his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Overstory (Norton, 2018), in this PBS NewsHour interview. “This book is precisely a book that challenges that notion of human separatism.” For more Powers, read “A Talk in the Woods: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers” from the November/December 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Notes to A Tribe Called Quest

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“It’s a book about a rap group, but, more particularly, a book that is examining how fandom seeps into our lives.” In this PBS NewHour video, Hanif Abdurraqib speaks with Amna Nawaz about his memoir, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (University of Texas Press, 2019), and the ways in which music intertwines with identity and the poignant moments in our lives.

Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

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“I’m carrying this for America, but for Indigenous peoples in particular,” says Joy Harjo about what it means to be the first Native American to serve as the poet laureate of the United States in this PBS NewsHour interview with Jeffrey Brown, which takes place in her hometown of Tulsa.

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