Spoken word poet Porsha Olayiwola shares her work in Klarman on Thursday.

Slam Poet Performs at Cornell

Award-winning spoken word poet Porsha “O” Olayiwola was invited Thursday to speak at a “Freedom Interrupted” lecture.

MEISEL | Poetry in a Time of Crisis

Admittedly, during times of intense crisis or panic, most people aren’t running around asking what the poets think. My own interpretation of this fact is not that people don’t care what poets have to say. It’s rather that they don’t believe in any reason for listening to them (a faulty judgement that I suppose amounts to the same result). If we experience social upheaval, for example, what good would reading Wordsworth do? If we encounter history in palpable manifestations, why read a poet to understand that history?

SUN STORY SUNDAYS | Inter Change

Sun Story Sundays is taking a quick pivot this week, featuring poetry instead of fiction. Guess everything in the world has been turned on its head, huh? Submissions can be sent to alv49@cornell.edu. The audio component of this story can be found here. 

Inter Change

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Pair.  

My brother, my son

Asks for the Good Samaritan again

Is our home neighbor the same Neighbor

As your America neighbor, Didi?

The Poetry of Monotony: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary with Chris Abani

William Martin stated: “Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life.” Yet it can be difficult to discover new meaning and inspiration within the mundane aspects of everyday life. If I were to profusely read poems by Billy Collins and Robert Frost, perhaps for a cycle I may be inspired by their pastoral descriptions of our natural world to appreciate the multiplicity of hues which color Ithaca’s trees or the torrential gorges as I walk over the suspension bridge. But eventually, I lose the wonder of these sights and remain trapped in the routine of prelims, homework and sleepless nights. But after hearing poet Chris Abani read and perform several of his own compositions this past Thursday, I found the new awe, joy and magnificence within my daily life, including my 2:30 a.m. walks back from Olin library.

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Let’s Be Frank: Arts & Entertainment Writers Take On Frank Ocean’s New Projects

Four years after his revered and still-bumped Channel ORANGE, R&B singer/enigma Frank Ocean has finally put out two follow-up projects: Endless and Blonde. Frank Ocean fans from the Arts & Entertainment section reflected on the albums: Were they worth the wait? Will they ascend to the same level of praise of Channel ORANGE? Chris Stanton: I had a friend make the mistake recently of criticizing Blond(e) to me, arguing that the hype around the album combined with Frank’s general aura of mystery had led to reactionary praise — longtime fans and casual passerby alike loudly proclaiming their hosannas to prove that they totally get art, man. Call it a product of spontaneous album releases or the performativity of social media, but the immediate public response to this sprawling project (TWO albums???

T.S. Eliot

MEISEL | No More National Poetry Month

For the past twenty years the Academy of American Poets, with support from a number of big-name publishers and bookstores, has christened the month of April “National Poetry Month.” The Academy now claims that National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world. Each year it amasses plenty of support, due in some part I imagine to the simplicity and ease with which one can engage with poetry. If you’re running short of ideas, the Academy’s website suggests memorizing poems, showing other people your favorite poems and even asking your representatives in local government to issue proclamations in support of National Poetry Month (that last one is very real). It also suggests specific books to buy and particular essays to write, quite a number of which lead back to the Academy of American Poets. I find it pretty difficult to think about National Poetry Month from a critical standpoint.