In March 2019, the Poetry Coalition launched “What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy,” its third annual programming initiative. For this collaborative effort, each organization in the Poetry Coalition brought its unique mission to the task of presenting programs and projects on the theme of democracy.
We dedicated five Saturdays of our Poem-a-Day series to poems by Pádraig Ó Tuama, Richard Blanco, Tom Sleigh, Brenda Hillman, and Solmaz Sharif that explored the theme of Poetry & Democracy through the lens of each right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Each featured poet also curated collections of poems by others that speak to the theme. In addition, we enlisted the support of organizations outside of literature such as the National Coaition Against Censorship and the Committee to Protect Journalists to help share these poems and educational resources.