William Wordsworth – Surprised By Joy

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origins from emotion recollected in tranquility. The emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears. William Wordsworth (April 07, 1770 - April 23, 1850) Surprised by joy—impatient as the WindI turned to share the transport—Oh! with whomBut Thee, long …

Gregory Loselle – The Whole Of Him Collected

Gregory Loselle (1963 -) The box of papers on the closet floorcontains his discharge papers from the war,a couple letters, dog tags: amuletsagainst prospective dangers, even betson futures filed away, here; telegramsmy grandmother amended in shorthandnotes (“May God protect you,”) on their backs;her death certificate, its seal (not waxlike his diplomas also here with hers)stamped …

Tracy K. Smith – We Feel Now A Largeness Coming On

Tracy K. Smith (April 16, 1972 -) Being called all manner of thingsfrom the Dictionary of Shame—not English, not words, not heard,but worn, borne, carried, never spent—we feel now a largeness coming on,something passing into us. We knownot in what source it was begun, butrapt, we watch it rise through our fallen,our slain, our millions …

Amanda Gorman – Chorus of the Captains

Amanda Gorman Today we honor our three captainsFor their actions and impact inA time of uncertainty and need.They’ve taken the lead,Exceeding all expectations and limitationsUplifting their communities and neighborsAs leaders, healers, and educators.James has felt the wounds of warfare,But this warrior still sharesHis home with at-risk kids.During Covid, he’s event lent a hand,Live-streaming football for …

Rita Dove – Pedestrian Crossing, Charlottesville

Rita Frances Dove (August 28, 1952 -) A gaggle of girls giggle over the bricksleading off Court Square. We brakedutifully, and wait; but there’s at leasttwenty of these knob-kneed creatures,blond and curly, still at an age that thinksimpudence is cute. Look how they dartand dither, changing flanks as they lurchalong—golden gobbets of infuriating foolishnessor pure …

Virgil Suárez – Bad Sons Anonymous

Virgil Suárez At this year’s conventionwe gather to pay homageto our fathers, responsiblemen who worked hard: laborers, stone cutters, welders,carpenters — blue collar all,men who raged, stormedtheir anger through the house, our mothers couldn’t manage,swept with brooms the debrisof broken things, in silencethey took it out on us, belts in hand, we stood there, cried,long …

Marilyn Nelson – The Children’s Moon

Marilyn Nelson (April 26, 1946 -) In my navy shirtwaist dress and three-inch heels,my pearl clip-ons and newly red-rinsed curls,I smoothed on lipstick, lipstick-marked my girls,saluted and held thumbs-up to my darling Mel,and drove myself to school for the first day.Over the schoolyard a silver lozengedissolved into the morning’s blue cauldron.Enter twenty seven-year-old white children.Look, …

David Graham – Listening for Your Name

David Graham As a father steals into his child's half-lit bedroomslowly, quietly, standing long and longcounting the breaths before finally slippingback out, taking care not to wake her,and as that night-lit child is fully awake the wholetime, with closed eyes, measured breathing,savoring a delicious blessing she couldn'tname but will remember her whole life,how often we …