Remembering Charles Simic

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“The best things that happen in poems are discoveries, they’re accidents; what comes out of our imagination, out of our deepest self, out of our memory.” In this 2007 PBS NewsHour interview, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Charles Simic speaks about his childhood in Yugoslavia, writing about war, becoming a U.S. poet laureate, and the freedom in poetry. Simic died at the age of eighty-four on January 9, 2023.

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Ada Limón on the Power of Poetry

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In this interview for MSNBC’s American Voices, Ada Limón speaks to host Alicia Menendez about becoming the first Latina U.S. poet laureate, her journey to a writing career, life in Kentucky, and how poetry can bring people together in “those moments when we can put everything down for one minute and just see ourselves, each other.”

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Natasha Trethewey’s Windham-Campbell Lecture

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“That’s one of the reasons I write. I’ve needed to create the narrative of my life, its abiding metaphors, so that my story would not be determined for me.” In this 2022 video, former U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey delivers the annual Windham-Campbell Lecture “Why I Write” for the prize ceremony at Yale University.

Poetry as Radical Hope

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“Poetry is a place where both grief and grace can live, where rage can be explored and examined, not simply exploited.” In this 2018 PBS NewsHour video, Ada Limón shares her opinion on why she sees more and more people turning to poetry in the search for “radical hope” in the digital age. Limón was named the twenty-fourth poet laureate of the United States today.

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Rita Dove on Playlist for the Apocalypse

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“I still believe that we listen more closely to a whisper than to a shout.” In this PBS NewsHour interview with Jeffrey Brown, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rita Dove speaks about history, rage, the power of poetry, and her latest collection, Playlist for the Apocalypse (Norton, 2021).

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Poets in Person: Robert Pinsky

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“The art of poetry for me is the art of composing a sequence of vowels, consonants, and sentence sounds that will seem moving, meaningful,” says former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky in this 2014 episode of Cortland Review’s Poets in Person series, in which he discusses his beginnings as a poet and his philosophy behind writing.

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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 2019 PBS NewsHour interview with Jeffrey Brown. A Q&A with Harjo about her new memoir, Poet Warrior (Norton, 2021), appears in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Rita Dove and Natasha Trethewey at Emory University

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“When you’re judging a contest I’m looking for something to just knock me over, and that’s what happened when I read Natasha’s manuscript,” says Rita Dove about first encountering Natasha Trethewey’s poetry while judging a book contest. In this 2011 conversation at Emory University, the two former U.S. poets laureate discuss writing, mentorship, and literary ancestries. 

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