Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Simms: Blue Notes

I think of Fats Waller whose left hand leaped down the keys, showing the path for every jazz pianist who followed, including the great Art Tatum and the minor Billy Joel.

November 28, 2020 · 10 Comments

Angele Ellis: Kelli Stevens Kane’s Songs of Innocence and Experience

In fifty numbered verses—many with the diamond-like compression of Emily Dickinson—Stevens Kane explores how the daily reality of the body suddenly can become extraordinary, paranormal—and how the science of events—such as gravity—can give way to the spiritual…

November 20, 2020 · 1 Comment

Michael Simms: Writing Prompt #1 | The Quotidian Poem

This post marks the beginning of a new irregular feature in Vox Populi. I hope readers of Vox Populi, many of whom are writers, will find the prompt helpful in stimulating their creativity.

November 14, 2020 · 25 Comments

Deborah Bogen: Risk

In Sappho, the spaces name nothing — but the emptiness still speaks.

October 28, 2020 · 3 Comments

Charles Davidson: The “State of Confession” for Christians in the November Election

On the cusp of the most important election in these United States since the eve of the Civil War, a sobering fact is that our own history has eerily caught up with us, just as our history caught up with the Nazis of Germany between the First and Second World Wars.

October 25, 2020 · 3 Comments

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

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