REPORTING POETRY

In the March 2014 issue of Poetry Magazine, there are seven pages on a conversation with PBS News Hour correspondent Jeffrey Brown.

I can only jump from a line there, to see the flavor of news reporting poetry. Crazy thought reporting news of Poetry!  Starting here with what Brown says:

“I spend most days working with my colleagues to produce news stories, and at the appointed hour I speak into the camera, telling what happened. What is the most important, most interesting, most compelling – wars, elections, natural disasters, news you expect to see and hear.

But there is more to tell.

In Haiti there is a small community center, a sort of library, where every Saturday for the past 10 years or so, the “crazy artists” come to meet one another, read their works and hold classes in writing or painting. On (any) day there is much reciting, singing, shouting lines back and forth in Creole and French, with references to the quake, cholera, hunger, death, but also to pleasure, fellowship, drinking and love, love, love.

I was there as a reporter.  What’s it mean, to report?  Give an account for the day, a tricky thing to be there but not of there. So, we accumulate facts and observations and give that account. In Haiti, that day, men and women gathered together to tell their histories, their lives, their hopes and joys, angers and sorrows.  Poetry happened.

There are many other stories and places. I recently witnessed children in a blighted Detroit neighborhood talk of W.S. Merwin’s line on “words hiding inside this pencil” and then pick up their pencils to write.

Indeed, along the way, in this country and abroad, I met many of our finest, most insightful poets and writers. I asked questions about language, words, and lives that we all share.  I learned over and over that the news comes from many directions, in many forms, that there are many ways – including a work of art, a piece of music, lines of poetry – to describe what happened.

Each of us must come to terms with what we see and what we will say.  On that trip to Haiti in 2011, the nation’s best known poet, Frankétienne, surveying what he called a “dying country”, told me “words cannot save the world.  And yet an account must be given.” 

Frankétienne and the “crazy”poets (of that small gathering in Haiti) continue to observe and write the news of the world.  A journalist continues to report the news of the day.”                                                                                               ……………………………………

Something to think about.

always with love,

Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Reporting poetry – all her life…..
Young Antoinette sailing to Italy

 

 

 

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