David Orr

5:03 am
Mon April 29, 2013

From Dissections To Depositions, Poets' Second Jobs

Monica Youn, who joined NPR as a NewsPoet last year, works as a lawyer. She says that poetry appears in law more often than you might think — but nobody calls it poetry.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 12:00 pm

"No man but a blockhead," Samuel Johnson famously observed, "ever wrote, except for money." This is tough news for poets, since the writing they do is often less immediately profitable than a second-grader's math homework (the kid gets a cookie or a hug; the poet gets a rejection letter from The Kenyon Review). Poetry itself is tremendously valuable, of course, but that value is often realized many years after a poem's composition, and sometimes long after the end of its author's life.

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8:07 am
Mon July 23, 2012

It's A Genre! The Overdue Poetry Of Parenthood


Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:26 pm

Birth, most people would agree, is a fairly important event. And poetry, most people would agree, tends to focus on subjects of intense emotional significance. So one would think the poetry of early parenthood would be a rich and varied category, filled with reflections on physical transformation, the emergence of life, the realities of infanthood and so forth.

One would be wrong.

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12:35 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Adrienne Rich: Resolution Amid The 'Turbulence'

Originally published on Tue May 1, 2012 1:52 pm

The memorials for the poet Adrienne Rich, who died Tuesday, will inc­­lude plenty of references to her feminism, her sometimes polemical leftism, her precocity, her difficult marriage (her husband killed himself in 1970), her subsequent partnership with the writer Michelle Cliff, and the books — beginning with 1963's Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law — that made her internationally famous. What can get a bit lost in all this, however, are the poems themselves.

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