Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Andrew J. Bacevich: Reflections on “Peace” in Afghanistan

However great my distaste for President Trump, I support his administration’s efforts to extricate the United States from Afghanistan….Prolonging this folly any longer does not serve U.S. interests. Rule number one of statecraft ought to be: when you’re doing something really stupid, stop.

September 16, 2019 · Leave a comment

Paul Christensen: Nutshells

The inside of a nutshell is chambered like the heart, with little ridges and flanges where the nut grew and prepared itself for falling into the waiting earth. That’s what I smell when I hold up a nutshell to my nose. It is the odor of anticipation, the willingness to be sacrificed to the sharp teeth of an animal worrying the shell until it breaks.

September 15, 2019 · Leave a comment

Tamara MacLeod: Lolita understood that some sex is transactional. So did I.

It is perfectly consistent to be deeply critical of the economic and gender inequalities that give rise to sex work, and still advocate for sex workers. The way to deal with cognitive dissonance is to tilt your head a little.

September 12, 2019 · 1 Comment

Paul Christensen: Summer’s End

Summer is like old gold, dark with age. You feel its strength become mellow and pliable in the soft breezes. There is wisdom in the heat that still simmers along the edges of noon, as if it were trying to tell us that illness or aging are as natural as drawing breath.

September 8, 2019 · 1 Comment

Chuck Taylor: Cutting

At first, I had no idea why the dogs were in the cages. I heard stories that the dogs were picked up running loose at night through many neighborhoods and delivered in old trucks to the hospital at night. I could tell that many of these dogs had been pets.

September 7, 2019 · Leave a comment

Sarah Chavez: The Story of Death Is the Story of Women

It is clear that our society’s current denial of death is not working. What would our culture look like if we instead met the most mysterious, painful, and transformational aspect of our lives with compassion and clarity?

September 5, 2019 · 3 Comments

Rebecca Solnit: Welcome to the US, Greta. With Your Help We Can Save the Planet and Ourselves

Even in such a divided and troubled country, there is hope. Between us we can beat the climate destroyers.

September 1, 2019 · Leave a comment

Abby Zimet: Good Job, Little Man

Before plunging into the grim cauldron that is this week’s news about the ravaging of democracy, decency and our precious, fragile, singular planet, here’s a picture of a small good thing.

August 29, 2019 · Leave a comment

Adrie Kusserow: Mismatch in the Modern West

Still, no one loves humans more than I do. How beautiful we are, at night calling to each other like owls, our loneliness barely masked, barely voweled into sound, the past calling to us like hungry ghosts…

August 26, 2019 · 7 Comments

Michael Simms: Dogsbody to the Muse

Sometimes it’s painful to watch a group of poets trying to work a room as if they were politicians. The AWP conference, as the wag put it, is comprised of 15,000 introverts pretending to be extroverts.

August 25, 2019 · 12 Comments

Megan Volpert: The Sophomores

Sophomore is fangirling out. He loves these boys in their three piece suits…

August 23, 2019 · Leave a comment

Eva-Maria Simms: Letter from my 60th Birthday

I broke into tears before the great abbey door because the lament of the elements had overwhelmed my heart.

August 18, 2019 · 8 Comments

George Yancy: Dear God, Are You There?

We are in a deep spiritual crisis that can’t be relieved by politics, or philosophy.

August 18, 2019 · Leave a comment

William J. Astore: In Wars and Weapons We Trust

We believe in wars. We may no longer believe in formal declarations of war (not since December 1941 has Congress made one in our name), but that sure hasn’t stopped us from waging them.

August 16, 2019 · 1 Comment

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