The Meaning of Political Poems

Are words political?


On Monday, November 23rd, we will attempt to understand, demistify, and interrogate political poems. Why they make us feel uncomfortable to write? Why the literary establishment tends to be uncomfortable with them?

Join the conversation on 89.3 FM from 7-8pm.

Upcoming Show

This month’s show is very exciting. Poets Sandra Beasley and Kyle Dargan will be in-studio with me.  See below for a some information on the poets.


Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and forthcoming from W. W. Norton. Her first collection, Theories of Falling, won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize judged by Marie Howe. Honors include the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, and fellowships to the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, VCCA, and the Millay Colony. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she is working on Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a nonfiction book forthcoming from Crown.



Kyle G. Dargan is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at American University and the founding editor of POST NO ILLS magazine. His debut collection of poems, The Listening, won the 2003 Cave Canem Prize, and his second collection, Bouquet of Hungers, was awarded the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in poetry. His poems and non-fiction have appeared in publications such as Callaloo, Denver Quarterly, The Newark Star-Ledger, Ploughshares, The Root, and Shenandoah. He has received fellowships to attend the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Fine Arts Work Center.

Upcoming Show

On Monday’s show (9/28 from 7-8 EST) we’ll be discussing the notion of “important” poems and where that idea comes from. What poets do you consider important? And what role does the literary establishment play in that decision-making?

To join the conversation to share a favorite poet or  favorite poem, you may call-in at 202-588-0893.


Carolyn JoynerPoet Carolyn Joyner will be our guest co-host. Ms. Joyner is a graduate of Johns Hopkins Writing Program. Her work has been published in several publications. She has read her work at several venues, including Heart & Soul Cafe, It’s Your Mug, the House of Ruth, Mangos, Cafe Bloom, Culture Cafe and Sankofa Books and Video. She also performed at the 7th Annual Black Writers conference at Chicago State University. In March of 1998 she toured England with “Collective Voices,” a DC-based Female Poetry Group.



 Later in the program, we’ll be talking with Brenda Wineapple, author of the prize-winning literary biography, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higgins. Ms. Wineapple teaches in the MFA programs at Columbia University and The New School in New York City, where she lives with her husband, the composer Michael Dellaira.

On Important Poems & Poets



In preparation for Monday’s show, I thought I’d pose the question (without trying spark an academic riot)

Who would you consider an important poet right now, and why? Feel free to leave a top five list but what’s most important is that we know why you consider these poets important. In what significant ways has their work affected you? Who is that poet you keep by the nightstand? Or maybe you haven’t found that poet yet because the kind of poems you like to read nobody’s writing. We want to know.  Please leave comments.

On Monday’s show I’ll be exploring this subject with poet Carolyn Joyner and Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Hope you’ll join us.

Stay tuned.

Hello world!

Welcome to Poet’s Corner, your virtual home and companion for the monthly radio program on WPFW, 89.3 FM, every fourth Monday from 7-8pm. For those of you who do not live in the DC metro area, you can listen via live streaming on our Web site,