For the Paris Review, Marie Mutsuki Mockett reflects on Bashō’s haikus through the eyes of her 10-year-old son, who encounters the poet’s work for the first time in the midst of home quarantine. “All poetry requires interpretation, but it is a characteristic of Bashō’s haiku that the reader plays a role in fully constructing the poem,” Mockett writes. “It’s as though Basho has left out a step somewhere in a math equation, and you must make the mental effort to do that step for the answer to reveal itself. This kind of cooperative art feels relevant right now, in a time when we are all staying home as much for ourselves as for each other.”
“Her exchanges with Americans in small towns and rural communities are inspiring an appreciation of poetry and history – and remind us that poetry has value for all of our lives.” The Library of Congress appointed Tracy K. Smith to a second term as the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2018-2019. For her second term, Smith edited an anthology called American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, which will be published by Graywolf Press in association with the Library of Congress. Pair with: our review of Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light.
My inner dramatist will have a debut outing at Sweet: Actors Reading Writers, Thurs. 12/2 at 7:30 pm, Three of Cups (First Ave at 5th Street, NYC). Actor Tonya Edmonds will perform an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Sebastian & Frederick. Other featured writers: Ed Park, Amanda Filipacchi, Jonathan Dixon, Maya Pindyck.
“We don’t have to look at Iraq for an analogue to Missouri,” writes Elif Batuman. “We can look instead at Missouri, or elsewhere in the United States.” Indeed for many ordinary Americans, as Jabari Asim echoes in his poem inspired by the recent events in Ferguson, “It’s more than time we had that talk / about what to say and where to walk, / how to act and how to strive, / how to be upright and stay alive.”