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Weekend America Series

Poetry Radio Project

William Carlos Williams wrote "It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there." Weekend America sought to bring the insight of poets and poetry to its coverage of news and cultural events across the country through the Poetry Radio Project, a collaboration between the Poetry Foundation and American Public Media that stretches across several APM programs. The project is an effort to use poetry to inform, contextualize and enrich our programming and listeners’ lives. Hear what poets had to say about the Iraq war, the election of President Barack Obama, holiday parties, Saturday morning cartoons and more.

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  • Conversations with America: Concluding the Conversation

    Turner, O'Connor and Williams

    Since last September, Weekend America has been asking writers and thinkers for their take on what matters to them and what should matter to all of us during this time of political change. Now that we have a new president, we thought we'd get some of the contributors back together to continue the conversation - with each other.

  • New Langston Hughes Poems Discovered

    Langston Hughes

    It's Langston Hughes's birthday this weekend, and people across the country are celebrating one of America's most beloved poets with poetry performances and other events. Poetry magazine has given Langston Hughes fans even more reason to celebrate. This month's issue features three previously unpublished Langston Hughes poems, written in 1930.

  • Tuskegee Airmen

    Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. John Mulzac

    The Tuskegee Airmen made history during World War II as the country's first black military pilots. Their performance paved the way for the end of racial segregation in the military forces. Now they've been invited to the Inauguration to watch Barack Obama make history as the country's first black president. Poet Marilyn Nelson talks about the struggles and the legacy of these legendary pilots.

  • Our First Inaugural Poet

    Poet Linda Pastan

    A lot of people are going to watch Barack Obama being sworn in as the country's next president. They'll squeeze into D.C. by the millions for the ceremony, and more will be watching on TV, including poet Linda Pastan. She'll see the whole thing sitting on her couch, just like she did almost 50 years ago when she curled up to watch John F. Kennedy's Inauguration.

  • Poet and President-elect Obama

    Poet, playwright and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott

    President-elect Barack Obama has a lot of writers excited about the next four years. He'll have a poet at his inauguration. He's said he's going to have more poetry readings at the White House. He's even quoted poetry on the campaign trail. In the speech he gave on Super Tuesday, Obama said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." That line is from June Jordan's "Poem for South African Women." Nobel laureate Derek Walcott has been thinking about what it means to have a president who reads poetry.

  • The Brutal Poetry of the Iraq War

    Brian Turner

    There's a whole group of Americans who won't be home for the holidays this year. Over 140,000 US troops are in Iraq right now. And holidays at war can be strange times. Poet Brian Turner served as an infantry team leader in Iraq in 2003. To get through the holidays, he put home out of his mind. But on his last night in Iraq, with home in sight, Brian wrote a poem called "Cole's Guitar."

  • Cocktail Hour

    Lush: A Poetry Anthology and Cocktail Guide

    Tis the season for holiday parties and the goodies that come along with them, like cocktails. It's time to see beyond the ingredients of your drink. Spout Press released a poetry anthology dedicated to cocktails titled "Lush." We asked poets Stephen Burt, Cindy King, and Sima Rabinowitz to share some insight about their cocktail of choice.

  • Reflecting on Mumbai

    Reflecting on Mumbai

    London had the 7/7 bombings. Madrid had the 3/11 train bombings. America had September 11th. And while India has suffered bombings before, last week's terrorist attacks were something else altogether. Brooklyn-based Indian-American poet Vijay Seshadri lived through 9/11, and this weekend, he talks about what the events in Mumbai mean for him and the poem that helps him get as close as he can to understanding it all.

  • Change of Seasons: Poetry and Curling

    A curling stone on the ice

    Is there a chill in the air yet, in your neck of the woods? Our nose hairs haven't frozen yet, but we're sure that treat is just around the corner. Which can only mean one thing: winter! You still have a couple weeks until the official beginning (December 21st, to be exact) but here's a little primer for the season.

  • Bringing Poetry Home

    Terrance Hayes

    Home is a subject poets have been scribbling about in stanzas since the days of Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey." This year, some poets put their own spin on the topic at City of Asylum Pittsburgh's annual jazz and poetry reading. Two of those poets come from very different places: Liberian-born Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, and native South Carolinian Terrance Hayes.

  • Conversations with America: Treasure Williams

    Treasure Williams

    We're continuing our series "Conversations with America" with a look at transition - a time of both uncertainty and anticipation. Treasure Williams is a poet and performer based in Memphis. She also teaches at Rust College, an historically black liberal arts college in Holly Springs, Miss. For her, the implications of Barack Obama's election are just starting to sink in.

  • Everyday Sidewalk Poetry

    "Bad Day" by Caley Conney

    A street party is getting underway here in St. Paul to celebrate a collection of poems by local residents that's been published on paper - and in cement. For the last few months the city has been implanting poems penned by St. Paulites in freshly poured sidewalks all over town. The public art project is designed to engage residents' artistic impulses and bring more poetry into everyday life. Chris Roberts of Minnesota Public Radio has the story.

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