• News/Talk
  • Music
  • Entertainment

Poetry Radio Project

Bringing Poetry Home

Larissa Anderson

Full Episode Audio
Larger view
Terrance Hayes
(Renee Rosensteel)
View the Slideshow
Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: "Poem Written from a Single Snapshot"

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.


Terrance Hayes: To feel like I'm at home in a place, I think it has a lot to do with friendships. It has a lot to do with a certain kind of a familiarity that I feel whether I'm at a grocery store or whether I'm at the bus stop.

When I moved back to Pittsburgh seven years ago, I was in the neighborhood where the woman in that poem ["Pittsburgh"] had been. And, my first time on the bus after having returned to Pittsburgh, the woman in that poem was on the bus, and so, it was a cycle of return to get back on the bus again and have this woman who had introduced me to a certain kind of a home the first time be there to welcome me back.

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: When I think of the word home, it brings tears to my eyes. I moved away from my country because of war. I remember my grandfather on bare feet in a muddy hut. He said to me, "You belong here. You are ours," and so when I think of home, I think of how much I have lost.

The whole idea of becoming is different from the whole idea of being. Where you were born and brought up and fed and nurtured is home. It doesn't have to become home. But, where you decide to go and that place accepts you and becomes stable, then it becomes home, and so for me, America is home, has become home, is becoming home, but where I came from will never stop being home.

More stories from our Poetry Radio Project series


  • Comment | Refresh

  • Post a Comment: Please be civil, brief and relevant.

    Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. All comments are moderated. Weekend America reserves the right to edit any comments on this site and to read them on the air if they are extra-interesting. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting.

      Form is no longer active


    You must be 13 or over to submit information to American Public Media. The information entered into this form will not be used to send unsolicited email and will not be sold to a third party. For more information see Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Download Weekend America

Weekend Weather

From the January 31 broadcast

Support American Public Media with your Amazon.com purchases
Search Amazon.com:
 ©2015 American Public Media