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A collection of field recordings by a wide range of award-winning contemporary poets. Each poet reads a singular American poem of his or her choosing, and also speaks to how the poem connects, deepens, or re-imagines our sense of the nation. The feature includes a print version of the poem to complement the recording, as well as a piece by the participating poet.

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Recently Added Poetry of America Recordings

Matthew Zapruder reads and discusses James Tate’s “The Argonaut”

Matthew ZapruderJames Tate

“Often in Jim’s poems, beyond the antic hilarity, there is also a sense of undefined dread, a gradual unraveling of the conventions we depend on, and our assumptions. This double consciousness, that whatever is ‘normal’ barely covers up something deeper, wilder, stranger, more anarchic, and beyond our ordinary ken, strikes me as characteristic of much of the best of American literature.”

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Elizabeth Willis reads and discusses Lisa Jarnot’s “The Bridge”

Elizabeth WillisLisa Jarnot

“I think ‘The Bridge’ is saying something about American identity and what it means to be an individual within a work in progress, which is what any nation or coalition or relationship is, and what it means to be an artist in this culture, fully alive to the complexities and disappointments and possibilities of what that might mean.”

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Linda Gregerson reads and discusses Muriel Rukeyser’s “Poem Out of Childhood”

Patricia Spears JonesGwendolyn Brooks

“Rukeyser was fierce in her insistence that the world was one: a tsunami born in Asia moves across the waters to North America; a shooting in Sarajevo means slaughtered millions from the Caucasus to France; the dividends paid to pensioners by Union Carbide are just a little larger because miners in West Virginia have been allowed to die of silicosis.”

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View Full List of Poetry of America readings and commentary