A country needs its poets, especially now. Their lines are life lines, keeping us connected to one another and to hope—whether it is the thing with feathers or the assertion, “I, too, am America.” In the days following the election, we have seen a surge of people reading poems on Poets.org.
The Academy of American Poets was one of the first organizations in the United States to showcase poets in public readings. Thankfully, since the 1950s we’ve been recording those events, and we’ve been able to make hundreds of audio tracks available on Poets.org. To hear a poet like Gwendolyn Brooks read her own poems is to understand something of the sonic forces driving each line.