Remembering Bharati Mukherjee

Remembering Bharati Mukherjee

America has long been a land that offers the freedom for every man and woman to define their own life story while also imposing rigid expectations of what that story should be. Generations of American poets have called attention to this irony: Langston Hughes, for...

Translating Poetry

Poets are famous for being prolific. Maya Angelou, for example, published more than a dozen collections of poetry over the course of her career. Emily Dickinson wrote over 1,800 during her lifetime, and E.E. Cummings wrote an astounding 2,900 poems. Another prolific...

Poetry and Testing

Poetry is notoriously hard to define. Is the essential character of poetry its reflections on emotion or human nature? Its use of rhythm and style? Both? Neither? This question has been debated by countless poets, professors, and readers for generations, and none have...
Inaugural Poets

Inaugural Poets

America is a nation with few civic rituals. Great Britain has the pomp and circumstance of its royal weddings and coronations, and China has military parades that serve as displays of force, but America, on the other hand, is light on the public ceremonies and...
The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

It would be easy to weigh the value of a life based solely on the number of “firsts” they managed to achieve. For example, in her lifetime, the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, the first African...
Three Months in Asia

Three Months in Asia

For the past several years, I’ve been fortunate enough to teach in the first international MFA program at the City University of Hong Kong, and I always enjoyed my annual journey to one of the most vibrant corners of the world. That program was recently shuttered due...

Coming Soon: The Golden Shovel Anthology

2016 was a great year for poetry. When people wanted to celebrate wonderful moments during the year, they turned to poems. And when there were terrifying or sad times–and there were plenty of terrifying or sad times, from violence around the world to politics at...
Celebrating Andal: The Autobiography of a Goddess

Celebrating Andal: The Autobiography of a Goddess

As many things do, one of my most recently-published collections began thanks to a moment of nostalgia and shared heritage. I happened to be talking with Priya Sarukkai Chabria, a dear friend and fellow poet, about South Indian weddings that we had attended as...
Post-Election Poetry

Post-Election Poetry

The morning of November 9 was fraught with realizations. For many–both citizens of the United States and of the world–they were bitter realizations. People confronted unsettling possibilities about how their lives and the world might unfold over the course...