on poetry

February 27, 2021

“The history of human experience is in many ways a history of dysfunction and conflict, and literature, because it is an accurate record of that history, reflects not only what is peaceful but what is the universal hope and struggle for peace. Literature and peace are at last indivisible. They form an equation that is the definition of art and humanity.”
N. Scott Momaday
(b. February 27, 1934)

Among his many awards, N. Scott Momaday is the 2021 recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.

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quote & photo

dial up some poetry

July 30, 2020

If you’re suffering from Zoom fatigue, here’s something a little different: the Poetry Society of America and Saint Flashlight present a dial-a-poem project: Calling the World. It’s pretty simple. You dial (212) 202-5606 and press one of the extensions (1 – 9) to listen to a selection of poetry.

Calling the World was created in response to the isolation brought about by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Initiated prior to the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, Calling the World showcases an international group of voices ─ African, Asian, Caribbean, European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern ─ and encourages us to look outside our national boundaries as we reconnect with the world. This touch-tone anthology drawn from the Poetry Society of America’s rich audio archives reminds us that poetry’s truths have no borders.

Visit Calling the World for more information and a list of poets.

awards season

June 30, 2020

The Poetry Society of America has announced the winners of the 2020 Annual Awards. See the complete list of winners and finalists and read sample poems here. You can also see and hear a number of the winners reading their work with the links provided below (but not on the PSA website):

Atsuro Riley is the winner of the 2020 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for a manuscript in progress. Atsuro Riley reads “Oak”

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the winner of the 2020 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award for a selection of poems by a mid-career poet. Teri Ellen Cross Davis reads “The Goddess of Cleaning”

Michael Dumanis is the winner of the 2020 Lyric Poetry Award. Michael Dumanis reads “The Empire of Light”

JinJin Xu is the winner of the 2020 George Bogin Memorial Award for a selection of poems that use language in an original way to reflect the encounter of the ordinary and the extraordinary and to take a stand against oppression in any of its forms. JinJin Xu reads from “To Red Dust (II)”

David Keplinger is the winner of the 2020 Emily Dickinson Award for a poem inspired by Emily Dickinson’s work. David Keplinger reads “Reading Emily Dickinson in Amherst Massachusetts”

Dai “Debby” Shi is the winner of the 2020 Student Poetry Award. Dai “Debby” Shi reading “It’s Too Early”

The Poetry Society of America runs many topical features. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, PSA asked poets to write about the poems they return to in difficult times — to find solace, perspective, or even a moment of delight.

Visit Reading in the Dark to see reflections from Kimiko Hahn, Carl Phillips, Rafael Campo, Brenda Hillman, Edward Hirsch, and Rae Armantrout, or subscribe to the PSA newsletter to receive Reading in the Dark by email.

tonight in New York

April 18, 2019

This evening, April 18, 2019, the National Arts Club in New York City will welcome the 109th Annual Poetry Society of America Awards Ceremony. The evening will honor the 2019 Frost Medalist, Eleanor Wilner, who will deliver the annual Frost Lecture, and celebrate the new winners of distinguished Annual Awards, with readings by Darcie Dennigan, Sara Henning, Anna Maria Hong, Cecily Parks, Vitoria Perez, and G. C. Waldrep.

We congratulate all of the winners, and in particular Seattle poet Kelli Russell Agodon, winner of the 2019 Lyric Poetry Award for her poem, At Times My Body Leans Toward Loss.

See the complete list of current and past winners here.

meanwhile, in Nashville…

December 29, 2018

The Poetry in Motion® program was launched in 1992 by the Poetry Society of America (PSA) and “is today one of the most popular public literary programs in American history.” We’ve mentioned it here before.

In most cities, winning poems appear on placards that are posted inside the buses. In Nashville, Tennessee, the Music City competition solicits poems of 25 words or less and the winning words are printed on the outside of the bus (as well as on placards, fare cards, and bus shelters). Fun!

change is in the air

December 26, 2018

We’ve recently caught wind of some notable changes in the poetry and publishing world:

  • Glimmer Train has announced that its final issues will be Glimmer Train Stories (#106) and Writers Ask (#85), to be published in the fall of 2019.
  • The HerStories Project will stop publishing new stories in 2019, but will retain the website and keep the current material accessible.
  • Tin House Magazine will cease publication with it 20th Anniversary Issue, to be published in June 2019.
  • Whirlwind ended publication with its 12th issue in August of 2018.
  • At the Poetry Society of America (PSA), Alice Quinn will step down from her executive directorship in June after 18 years.

We are grateful for all that these people and publications have contributed to our literary lives.

(The trend is not reserved for poetry journals. Major periodicals, including Cooking Light and Glamour have also announced their intent to cease print publication or switch to occasional special-interest journals.)

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a serving of poetry

October 16, 2018

The Poetry Society of America (PSA) has just launched Poems on Wheels, a collaboration with Citymeals on Wheels, which provides meals and companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly, delivering over 2 million meals each year.

Each season, PSA will select a poem for inclusion with meal deliveries. This fall, the poem “Autumn Dusk” by Sara Teasdale will be included in Emergency Food Packages, which are delivered to over 18,000 meal recipients to ensure they have food on hand should hard winter weather delay regular deliveries.

under wraps

June 28, 2018

It’s not very often that you Google the name of a film and come up with exactly two links (at the time of this writing). So, while we continue on our quest for all things poetry-plus-film, we can’t really tell you very much about “Wild Nights With Emily Dickinson” except that it is a feature film starring Molly Shannon and Dana Melanie.

Poetry Society of America is screening it at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Saturday, July 7, 2018, and describes the film as “this irreverent and hilarious SXSW dramatic comedy about Emily Dickinson, and her life-long romance with another woman in a film IndieWire said ‘could forever change the narrative of the world’s most famous woman poet.’”

swell swag

May 23, 2018

The Poetry Society of America is holding its annual Spring Benefit on Wednesday, May 30, 2018. The evening will honor Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Tickets and tables are still available.

If you won’t be able to make it to the benefit (or even if you will), PSA is offering an array of swell poetry swag in their silent auction, including appealing adventures, dazzling art, a poetry consultation with Billy Collins, a stay at the Ace Hotel in New York, books, classes, tickets, broadsides, posters, and subscriptions. Visit the auction page online.

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