Poetry Friday: Finding poetry in the news of the day

Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura at Writing the World for Kids
Last Friday evening, my radio tuned in to NPR as always, I heard  a brand new and very exciting new project launched:

Today marks the start of an exciting project at All Things Considered. Each month we’ll be bringing in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end, to compose a poem reflecting on the day’s news.
The first poet to participate is Tracy K. Smith. She has received degrees in English and creative writing from Harvard College, Columbia University, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her latest book of poems is titled Life on Mars.

What followed was a fascinating glimpse into the artistic process – a poet in search of poetry under extraordinary circumstances.  Our news cycle is filled with every day struggles and cataclysmic events.  How does a writer pick and choose amongst these and then distill the emotional force of the story into a poem?  As the NPR host went about interviewing Tracy Smith and uncovering this process, I found myself listening intently, thinking to myself this is impossible, actually. 
Well, I was SO wrong!  Tracy Smith followed the news of the day, as assigned,  and out of one story that caught her attention came this incredible poem:

‘New Road Station’

The poem, of course, stands on its own.  But it becomes even more powerful to read its context here – where you can also listen to the poet read her just-written poem. 
I will be tuning in to All things Considered for this monthly event from now on, to hear what in that day’s news moved a poet and inspired poetry…


8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Finding poetry in the news of the day

  1. Wow, I'm sorry I missed that, & will watch for it. Thank you for telling us about this, Tara. The poem says so much to me. Time (& history) moves on, and "The crows strike their bargain with the breeze." as it marches, but includes parts we might not want to see, or experience, & that is what the news does, tells us the story. How wonderful that the poet can do all this in a heartbeat, really.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up about this special feature.And that bus? Maybe it's a school bus, carrying history inside it — the children who will carry whatever they learn of the past into their future.

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