I was preparing to run a workshop on ways to translate political beliefs into our own personal language when I went to my bookshelf. I was hoping to find two poets with differing opinions on a very specific political event. So, not poems about The Civil Rights Movement, but poems about The Martin Luther King assassination. Not a poem about protesting, but poems about Tiananmen Square.
I couldn't find two authors with different views speaking to precisely the same political event.
While I did end up coming up with a solution in time for my workshop, it got me thinking; what else isn't my bookshelf talking about?
Take one or more books from your poetry collection and ask the book a question you don't think its author is qualified to answer, and use a line or two to answer a specific question.
For example, don't ask Robert Frost to tell you about New England, or Maya Angelou to tell you about birds. Ask Kevin Young why the Red Sox haven't renamed Yawkey Way, or ask Anne Carson why your car wouldn't start this morning.
If you're having trouble coming up with a poet to pair with your question, you can always go with Jorie Graham, whose poetry is like a Magic Fucken 8-Ball of "Huh?"
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