Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Mike Schneider: Bob Dylan’s Ballads of Murder, Drowning & Other Songs of Love

If one of the defining tendencies of post-modernism is breaking down borders between high and low culture—such as between Beethoven and Elvis, Dylan is a supreme post-modernist. The cultural compass inscribed by his work is huge, flattering us by the depth of his learning and song awareness. We can follow or not—the songs don’t care.

October 18, 2020 · 5 Comments

Rachel Hadas:’What goes around comes around,’ or what Greek mythology says about Donald Trump

When I studied and taught Sophocles’ tragedy “Oedipus the King,” the stress was on hubris, irony, blindness. What wasn’t emphasized is that the play was written during and is set in the midst of a plague.

October 15, 2020 · 3 Comments

Bart Plantenga: How the Soul Remains Miraculously Intact Despite 2000 Rejections

…we must learn to nest in piles of our own rejection slips and somehow effectively grab hold of the levers and buttons that control the means of writerly production…

September 19, 2020 · 1 Comment

Adrian Blevins: How I wrote The Brass Girl Brouhaha

I wrote The Brass Girl Brouhaha by tattooing the word WRONG across my heart to help me muster the strength I’d need to argue with a world that wanted me to say “hey, y’all!” in a hill-country accent sipping tea under a dogwood in a pink smock smattered with etchings of ivy.

September 18, 2020 · 1 Comment

Susanna Lee: Jim Thompson is the perfect novelist for our crazed times

“The Killer Inside Me” is a testament to moral accountability exultantly shredded, and its resonance today is uncanny.

September 4, 2020 · Leave a comment

Matthew Redmond: Emily Dickinson is the unlikely hero of our time

As the world continues to endure the ravages of COVID-19, another ghost of Dickinson steps into view.

August 28, 2020 · Leave a comment

Rachel Hadas: Poets and novelists have been writing about life under COVID-19 for more than a century

Good artists seem, in our alarming and prolonged time […] to be leaping over months, decades and centuries, to speak directly to us now.

August 18, 2020 · 1 Comment

Paul Christensen: The American Muse

We let the unresolved issues and crises that face us mount up beyond the poet’s window, as the writer gropes for a language in which to imagine something beyond the claustrophobic assumptions we have accepted as our grasp of the world.

August 9, 2020 · 1 Comment

Michael Simms: Praise the Poet

Empires fall and buildings crumble, but songs and stories survive.

July 25, 2020 · 15 Comments

Mike Schneider: Rain-Father of Narcissism & the Inner Tyrant

Remembering Tony Hoagland (1953-2018)

July 24, 2020 · 3 Comments

Michael Simms: A brief note to Vox Populi subscribers

Dear Friends, Just want to let you know that we’ve added two new categories to our menu of posts: Fiction and Literary Criticism and Reviews. The menu can be found … Continue reading

July 22, 2020 · 8 Comments

Michael Simms: Re-reading Christina Rossetti’s ‘In an Artist’s Studio’

The value of Rossetti’s poem lies in both the expert use of the Petrarchan sonnet, a particularly challenging form to master in English, and in the poet’s complex stance on the role of art in creating and re-enforcing images of women.

January 24, 2020 · Leave a comment

Sandy Solomon: On “Adlestrop”

“Adlestrop” is a poem which, though written in a time of war, takes place during that last, long, beautiful Edwardian summer. The speaker is describing a prewar train journey in full consciousness of the disruption that is soon to follow.

January 10, 2020 · 1 Comment

Angele Ellis: Naomi Shihab Nye’s “The Tiny Journalist”

In her latest collection of poems, an award-winning poet explores resistance and hope among the Palestinian people.

October 10, 2019 · Leave a comment

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