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The Poetry Foundation: "From Reznikoff to Public Enemy"

What is the role of truth and news in poetry? This article from the Poetry Foundation written by Philip Metres, poet, war literature expert, and professor of literature and creative writing at John Carroll University, takes up this question. Tracing the history of documentary poetry back to William Carlos Williams, Metres creates a "roughly chronological" assemblage of documentary poems that "offers a few highlights of the tradition of poet as journalist, poet as documentarian, poet as historian, poet as agitator." This list explores the historical context and impact of such artistic works as Allen Ginsberg's "America," Bob Dylan's "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," and "911 Is a Joke" by Public Enemy. Throughout, the article features links to text versions of the poetic works mentioned and information on their authors. This article grew out of two panels at the Make it News: A Symposium on Poetry and Journalism, an event jointly mounted on November 8, 2017 by the Poetry Foundation and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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