Your new ritual: Immerse yourself in a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing. Anchor your week by listening to the everyday poetry of your life, with new episodes on Monday and Friday during the season.
Seán Hewitt — Suibhne is wounded, and confesses
In times of isolation, what stories have you turned to for comfort?
This poem is an exploration of isolation as seen through the mythical Irish character, Suibhne. Suibhne was cursed and lived a life on the move, a transitory isolation. In the midst of the sadness at all he’s missed, he also sees beauty — and he holds both sadness and appreciation together.
Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi — Say My Name
What is the story of your name?
In this poem, the poet calls on place, ancestors, and history to bear witness to the dignity of their name. They recalls how their ancestors “acknowledged my roots grew in two / places” and how their name “is the definition of resilience.” With Black/Indigenous, Pasifika, and West Asian heritage, the poet speaks to those who mispronounce their name: “Say it right or don’t say it at all / for I am Meleika.”
Lucille Clifton — song at midnight
In strength and defiance, Lucille Clifton celebrates her Black body and her survival. When have you said or heard words like this?
Calling herself “both nonwhite and woman,” Lucille Clifton glories in her shape and fact of her life in these two poems. She invites the reader to witness everything she's lived through, and to celebrate the flourishing life that she has created in spite of everything that has tried to kill her.
Chris Abani — The New Religion
How do you speak of — and to — your body?
This is a poem dedicated to the body. “The body is a nation I have never known,” Chris Abani writes. Throughout the 21 lines of this work, he describes lungs, skin, bone, touch, smells, sweat, armpits and hunger. For all the embodiedness of the poem, there is disembodiedness too: the poem continues to question how to truly be in your own body.
Molly McCully Brown — Transubstantiation
Are there places you've lived or visited that others would disregard? What do you see in them that others might miss?"
This poem takes place at night, describing a scene from a town on the edge of a city. The poet feels at home in a “nowhere” town, with cattle pacing in the fields, boarded houses, and rowdy filling stations. This is a place that through the eyes of some would be considered a “shit town,” but to the poet it is home.
Natalie Diaz — Of Course She Looked Back
Is there a character (from history, politics, or literature) whose story you want to tell from a new perspective?
This poem is told from the point of view of “Lot’s wife,” a biblical character who was turned into salt because she looked back to see the burning of Sodom, her home city. The poet shows us what Lot’s wife sees: towers swaying, guitars popping, dogs weeping and roosters howling. By mixing the modern with the everlasting, Lot’s wife is humanized and justified.