American Identity in Poetry

June 13, 2022

  I need to go back and read my own blog posts more often.  At last week’s Fridays at 4 I mentioned this notion of what it is to be an American poet, and said I hope to have the poet Ed Hirsch join us sometime to discuss new anthology The Heart of American Poetry.  As I was reading back through some earlier blog posts I found several that talk about American poetry, including one titled “I Hear America Singing: The Poetry of American Identity,” that mentions a Library of Congress site where fifty contemporary poets read and discuss poems they consider respresentative, in one way or another, of what it is to be American. I’ve just heard a few so far, and it’s fascinating listening.  I’m still thinking about how this overlaps with the question: “Do you think about yourself as an American poet?”

Check out the list–it includes readers James Tate, Alicia Ostriker, Naomi Shahib Nye, Marilyn Nelson, Joy Harjo, C. D. Wright.  Listen to some of them–or all, for that matter.  Maybe make some notes.  Then come back and comment here with your recommendations and thoughts.  I think this is going to make for terrific discussion, but the next Fridays at 4 (eastern time) will be two weeks from now because I have to be somewhere else this Friday.  I think you’ll find these recordings really exciting in the meantime, and I’m looking forward to seeing your responses here.

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  • Reply Peter Pereira June 14, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for the link to this site Sharon. I’ve read just a few so far, and it’s terrific. And so fitting for the upcoming July 4th holiday.

    • Reply Sharon June 14, 2022 at 11:25 am

      It’s amazing. Just started working my way through it, and it’s really exciting. I’m going to pretend that I thought of the JUly 4th connection.

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