not all poetry needs to make loud proclamations to be valuable


“The last few months have felt like such an outward and inward experience of lament… It’s been a wake-up call for what has always been there. To me, the personal (and poetical) is inescapably political and vice versa. Every utterance is informed by social, cultural, and political forces and in turn carries social, cultural, and political implications. We are increasingly aware of this; we see more plainly how ‘political climate’ is linked to personal and poetical climates.

“I don’t think this means all poetry must make loud proclamations to be valuable. Carl Phillips said in a recent essay that ‘[t]o insist on being who we are is a political act,’ and I absolutely believe this is why we need the full spectrum of literary art—whether thunderous or quiet, headstrong or windswept—from people who have been suppressed or invisible. We are where we are now because a swath of people in this country are convinced the answer to their problems is to subjugate and marginalize other people. Part of the response in poetry has been to focus our attention on those they are attempting to erase, to render seen what has been unseen.”

What Is Being Charted Here?: Talking with Jennifer S. Cheng – Emma Winsor Wood – The Rumpus – June 28, 2017

How to Build an American Home

Jennifer S. Cheng

The first time I learned how we all inhabit an acoustic architecture of space,
it was sound traveling across a landscape, contouring objects, carving
between them, bringing forth a movement of bodies through space. You
could stand inside a metal sculpture of a whale, close your eyes; or you could

Read rest of poem 

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