Village Voice: Celebrating Poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye

In the latest edition of “Village Voice,” Jim and Margery celebrate poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye with poet Richard Blanco.

“I thought we’d highlight her work because there’s just so much going on, everything has been so overwhelming lately. Her work has a spiritual and ethereal quality that I thought might serve as a counterbalance to some of the madness out there.”

Tune in to hear the discussion and read along with the poems listed below! read more…

Village Voice: Poems for 9/11

On latest episode of Village Voice, I joined Jim and Margery on Boston Public Radio to share a couple poems of remembrance: “Photograph for September 11” by Wislawa Szymborska, translated from Polish by Clare Cavanagh, and “That Day: When We Were One” — my first 9/11 poem.

Click to hear about the experience of writing an Occasional Poem, and how Horace Mann School, charities, and organizations such as: Grab The Torch, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, 9/11memorial, and Howard Lutnick, inspired this poem which became a more hopeful reminder that we can once again reunite as a nation. read more…

Village Voice: A Lesson in Poetry Translation

On the latest episode of the Village Voice, I spoke about the joys and challenges of translating poetry into different languages.

“[Translation] is an art. There are whole conferences, associations and societies, …In some cases you have a ghost translator. What that means is that someone will take the text and translate it word-by-word, pretty much. And then you have the poet, who doesn’t even know the original language, and works with that language, so that in a way the poem becomes a reflection of the poet who was working with the building blocks of language. I’ve heard that those are the most successful translations because they’re not just trying to be literal…There are some things that cannot be translated…”

Tune in to hear the poems listed below in English and Spanish! read more…

Village Voice: Celebrating the Work of Dorianne Laux

On the latest episode of the Village Voice, I spoke with Jim and Margery on Boston Public Radio about poet extraordinaire, Dorianne Laux. Her poetry is assessable, yet complex. Sensuous, subtly powerful, and full of striking insights and revelations about everyday life.

Dorianne Laux’s sixth collection, Only As the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems was named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and is a Pushcart Prize winner. read more…

Village Voice: Poems For A Potential Turning Point In America’s Relationship With Race

The question of race in all its complexity is something that we continue to not take a closer look at in America, it just keeps being swept under the rug, and how today now we’re taking a closer look than we have in a long time. There seems to be this idea that racism is an African American problem to solve, and the reality is that everybody in America needs to be talking about race, and I love that we’re seeing that in the street, that the demographics of the people out there is really striking and wonderful to see.

I joined Boston Public Radio for another installment of the Village Voice on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, to reflect on race and share one of my own poems, “Easy Lynching,” along with “juxtaposing the black boy & the bullet,” by Danez Smith, and of course: “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. read more…

Village Voice: Celebrating The Work Of Joy Harjo

On the latest episode of the Village Voice, I spoke with Jim and Margery on Boston Public Radio about Joy Harjo, the current United States poet laureate, and shared some poems.

Joy is the first Native American person to hold the position of poet laureate. What you’ll see in her poems is of course a lot of the influences of the language, culture, myth, symbolism that inform her work, but also a lot of musicality — her poems often sound chant-like or prayer-like. read more…

Village Voice: Richard Blanco On The Poetry Of The Home-Cooked Meal

On the latest episode of the Village Voice: I read a selection of poems on the essential human ritual that is the home-cooked meal. Home cooking is one of the few rays of light poking through an otherwise gloomy life in quarantine. Originally I wanted to do some elegies, and maybe we’ll do that later on … but it was just so heavy. We need to slice this — pardon the pun — a little thinner here!

I hope these poems provide some spiritual nourishment! You can follow along below: read more…

Village Voice: Poems For Social Distancing

Richard Blanco, fifth inaugural poet, joined Boston Public Radio on March 26 to share some poems he felt might be a prescription to the array of complex feelings many are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic.

He noted a column in the Paris Review called “Poetry Rx: Poems for Social Distancing,” where people write in with an emotion, and poets respond with poems as prescriptions.

“When things are really bad, poets always find the good thing,” Blanco said. read more…

Village Voice: Richard Blanco On The Persona Poem

On this episode of the Village Voice, Richard Blanco joined Jim and Margery to share a crash course on the persona poem, also known as dramatic monologue, in which the poet speaks through a voice other than their own.

“It’s a neat way that poems can twist the point of view to get at something else you wouldn’t ordinarily get to if you were just speaking as the poet narrator or the poet speaker,” he said.

For our listening pleasure and for a true experience of the dramatic monologue, Richard read the following poems before opening up the conversation. read more…