As I’ve been thinking about ongoing posts that speak to American identity, I came across a wonderful site, The Poetry of American Identity. It’s provided by the Library of Congress and is “a collection of field recordings by a wide range of award-winning contemporary poets. Each poet reads a singular American poem of his or her choosing, and also speaks to how the poem connects, deepens, or re-imagines our sense of the nation. The feature includes a print version of the poem to complement the recording, as well as a piece by the participating poet.” So you can read and listen to this wide ranging sense of what America is, and what it is to be American. I think there are 19 poems, and I’m going to start with Ed Hirsch’s reading and discussion of William Carlos Williams’ “To Elsie.” I think. Doesn’t matter, I’m going to listen to all of them. I hope you’ll share your reactions right here. I’m imagining all of us gathered in someone’s big comfy living room, listening and talking.
This looks like a wonderful resource. I am looking forward to listening! Thank you for posting.
Thanks. I’m having a great time listening: Ed Hirsch on Williams, Amy Gerstler on Tate, Nicky Finney on Bessie Smith, JD McClatchy on Whitman. Really interesting.
Ohhh, this looks good! Thanks, Sharon. & thanks for doing this whole discussion in this oh so prosaic time!
I love this. Thanks for sharing. I just listened to Naomi Shihab Nye reading Lisa Suhair Mujaj. I, too, enjoyed how this poem responds by engaging rather than pushing back.
I read a condensed interview with Bernie Sanders in today’s NYT’s Education insert. When asked about private versus public university funding, he remarks on a good friend of his who teaches poetry at UVM, and how we “can’t just look at things from a corporate perspective,” because even though there’s not a great market for poets, “teaching poetry is important.” Imagine if Bernie had won?