As part of the 2020 Dear Poet project, students around the country and the world wrote letters to Alicia Ostriker in response to a video of her reading her poem “Pickup” aloud. Alicia Ostriker wrote letters back to five of these students; their letters and her replies are included below, along with additional responses from students.

Alicia Ostriker also wrote a response to all of the participants of this year's Dear Poet project.

Dear Poetry reading students,

As a poet, I always write in the hope that my poems will connect with the lives and experiences of others.  In a deep sense, we are all connected to each other, and to the world we live in, and poetry can help us feel the connection within ourselves. 

Especially in times like these, where there is chaos all around us, and everyone seems competitive and divided, poetry can be reassuring, reminding us that we are not alone.

I also think that all people have some poetry inside them, waiting to be written.  So I hope anyone who loves to read will also love to write.  Writing is discovery of what you didn't know you knew.  Good luck with it!


Alicia Ostriker

read more letters