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In this installment of the P.O.P video series, Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess reads his poem “Mercy” and talks about the importance of the blues, "the music that goes to the root of the American soul."

Produced by poet and photographer Rachel Eliza Griffiths, P.O.P (“Poets on Poetry”) is a video series featuring contemporary American poets reading both an original poem and a poem by another poet. Each poet then reflects on these poems and answers a question provided by a previous participant in the series. What results is an evolving, multifaceted conversation among poets about the art form. The Academy of American Poets has partnered with Griffiths to release the P.O.P video series on, alongside Rachel Eliza Griffiths’s essay on the project: "Poets on Poetry: A Virtual Village of Discovery and Poetics.”