Saturday, September 19, 2009

American Life in Poetry Project

I recently stumbled upon a fabulous project, American Life in Poetry. The project, a pet child of Ted Kooser, is aimed at promoting poetry. Each week, a new poem is posted. I have three main reasons to love the project:
  1. It's free!
  2. The poems are brief!
  3. It's contemporary poetry from all ranges and talents of poets; anywhere from a 12 year old beginner to a budding college student to a middle aged old pro.
Below, I have posted the link as well as the column of one week. Feel free to check out the project for yourself. And forgive me if I post a few more of these poems. I, for one, am a fan!

Self-Portrait by Zozan Hawez : American Life in Poetry

American Life in Poetry: Column 198


This column has had the privilege of publishing a number of poems by young people, but this is the first we’ve published by a young person who is also a political refugee. The poet, Zozan Hawez, is from Iraq, and goes to Foster High School in Tukwila, Washington. Seattle Arts & Lectures sponsors a Writers in the Schools program, and Zozan’s poem was encouraged by that initiative.


Born in a safe family
But a dangerous area, Iraq,
I heard guns at a young age, so young
They made a decision to raise us safe
So packed our things
And went far away.

Now, in the city of rain,
I try to forget my past,
But memories never fade.

This is my life,
It happened for a reason,
I happened for a reason.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2007 by Seattle Arts & Lectures. Reprinted from “We Will Carry Ourselves As Long As We Gaze Into The Sun,” Seattle Arts & Lectures, 2007, by permission of Zozan Hawez and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.
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