“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” South African leader Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at age ninety-five. He claimed the poem “Invictus,” written by English poet William Ernest Henley and published in 1875, helped him survive twenty-seven years of incarceration on Robben Island. Watch this moving interpretation of the inspirational poem.
A curated selection of videos, including book trailers, brief interviews, and other literary curiosities updated daily.
“I fought every single day.” Roger Bonair-Agard’s collection of poems, Bury My Clothes, published in 2013 by Haymarket Books, earned him a spot on the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for poetry. In this video, he discusses his journey as a writer, rap as a poetic form, and what poetry can do for youth.
“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.” Watch this engaging interpretation of Mary Oliver’s transcendent poem “Wild Geese.” Ryland Brooks, the filmmaker, produced the video from footage he shot in 2012 while traveling in the United States and Peru.
In this video clip, artist Cara Barer transforms discarded books into compelling sculptures that reveal the soulful aesthetic and remarkable creative power hidden in the pages of unwanted books. These works reflect the ephemeral nature of meaning and existence and, most strikingly, the precarious future of books in print.
"Hello, you careful seamstress, you needle in my sternum." In this video clip, award-winning poet Jamaal May reads “I Do Have a Seam" from Hum, his first collection of poems, which was published by Alice James Books in November.
“Snow that covers us from above, cover us more deeply.” In this Motionpoem, James Longenbach narrates his nostalgic poem "Snow,” which is brought to life visually through welcoming images and soft watercolors. Created by video artist Deb Kirkeeide.
“This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.” In this video that originally aired in 2012, poet Joy Harjo reads “Perhaps the World Ends Here” for PBS NewsHour. Happy Thanksgiving.
“Prose is what it is because of what it includes, but poetry is what it is because of what it leaves out.” Poet Marvin Bell discusses his writing process, influences on his work, and why he doesn't believe in writer's block.
“Do you know what it feels like to wait for your son to come home alive every night?" Award-winning poet Wanda Coleman, often called the “unofficial Poet Laureate of L.A.,” died Friday at the age of sixty-seven. Coleman’s book of poetry Mercurochrome was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001. In this clip from May 2013, she reads at California State University.
"I hear one of my poems and I'm mortified." Watch the trailer for Reaching for the Moon, a movie based on the life of renowned poet Elizabeth Bishop.