In “Tenants,” the opening poem of Hannah Sullivan’s hybrid collection Was It for This (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023), the British poet contends with nursing a new baby a mile away from the Grenfell Tower in West London, a high-rise public housing building that tragically caught fire. The poem combines various viewpoints to address how local, public tragedies can affect private lives, such as accounts from firefighters, research from news reports, and descriptions of the building’s “crinkled, corrugated, lacy” façade. This week, research the local news of your city and write a poem centered around a recent headline. How does this news story affect your personal life? Does this exercise help you feel more connected to your community?
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