Over the past two years, we have seen how poems have become particularly relevant to current events, public debate, and social change movements. It is more true than ever that when we face moments of crisis, thousands of people swarm Poets.org seeking poems that offer language to help translate challenging circumstances, provide unique insight, inspire empathy, give comfort, express frustration, and spark hope.
After the journalist James Foley was murdered on August 19, 2014, people turned to Daniel Johnson's poem in tribute to him, "The Absence of Sparrows.”
Since news broke of the death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2015, many hundreds of thousands of people have been reading and sharing the poems of Langston Hughes.
On January 5, 2016, the day that President Obama gave a speech about gun violence, Matthew Olzmann's poem about school shootings "Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czesław Miłosz” circulated widely.
On July 10, 2016, in the wake of the shootings of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Dallas police officers Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa, Academy Chancellor and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera's new poem, "@ the Crossroads—A Sudden American Poem" was the second most read poem on Poets.org that day. The first was Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise."
As Audre Lorde once wrote, “Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”
Because Poets.org does not have an endowment to support the site, we rely on the multitudes of members, donors, and partners who continue to make Poets.org possible. Poets.org is truly people-powered! Thank you for visiting Poets.org and helping us grow the audience for poetry.