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Poem-a-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary and audio by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is distributed via email, web, and social media to 500,000+ readers free of charge. The series is curated by twelve poets from across the country who have wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives. Learn more about the 2019 guest editors and revisit the 2018 guest editors and the poems they curated. Read more about Tracy K. Smith's approach to curating April

The Creative Drive

Recorded for Poem-a-Day April 22, 2019.
About this Poem 

“Thinking about literary influence, I wanted to write an ars poetica out of a day's New York Times. I turned first to the Real Estate section, which would, I figured, be least poetic and therefore most challenging. It was a fortuitous mistake—there I found Ronda Kaysen's thoughtful lament about the fate of trees in her New Jersey suburb; her article provided the raw material for this cento (with substitutions). I tip my hat to all of the Times reporters, to whom we are indebted for their excellent and very real reporting (along with environmentalist Mike Brick and forester John Linson, whose quotes also slip into the poem). I tip my hat to all trees, which, like poems, prove simultaneously fragile and resilient.”
—Catherine Barnett

The Creative Drive

A recent study found that poems increased 
the sale price of a home by close to $9,000. 
The years, however, have not been kind to poems. 

The Northeast has lost millions of poems, 
reducing the canopy. Just a few days ago, 
high winds knocked a poem onto a power line 

a few blocks from my house. 
I had not expected to lose so many at once. 
"We've created a system that is not healthy 

for poems," said someone. Over the next thirty years, 
there won't be any poems where there are overhead wires.
Some poems may stay as a nuisance, 

as a gorgeous marker of time.

Copyright © 2019 by Catherine Barnett. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 22, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Catherine Barnett. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 22, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

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