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Words for solace and strength: poems to counter the election fallout – and beyond


What poets can help us get through a Trump administration? Here are five that serve as signals that good exists, and that someone is awake and listening

Audre Lorde once wrote that “poetry is not a luxury”, and right now it is a necessity. What kind of poetry can get us through a Donald Trump presidency? We’ll need satire and spitting vitriol. We’ll need rallying cries. We’ll need reminders of human dignity.

Each poet here has struggled with the relationship between poetry and action, with the question of poetry’s relevance in a time of crisis. Adrienne Rich said: “A poem can’t free us from the struggle for existence, but it can uncover desires and appetites buried under the accumulating emergencies of life.” These are words carefully chosen not for solace but for strength, poems that dip into the reservoirs of literature to find fuel for the day ahead. They are, to borrow from WH Auden’s famous poem September 1, 1939, “ironic points of light” that “flash out wherever the Just / exchange their messages”. Poems that serve as signals through the ages that good exists, and that someone is awake and listening.

Related: Aside from family, this community is all I've got. And yet, they voted for Trump

is merry glory

Is saltatory.

Related: In need of a comfort read right now? Take a stab at true crime

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill

and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows

some words build houses in your throat. and

they live there. content and on fire.

no longer interest me

or pig-men, or those who can fly

I lived in the first century of world wars.

Most mornings I would be more or less insane,

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