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The Post-Final Grand Finale

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Please forgive me—I couldn’t help that title! And I’m going to do a little bit of jumping around in this post. First, I want to let you know that tonight the final segment of “Where Poetry Lives” is airing on the PBS NewsHour. This segment brought our Laureate to Los Angeles, where she learned more about the MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles and the community service project they require as part of the degree. The NewsHour already has a piece on the segment up on its website, as part of its great Poetry Series—if you miss tonight’s broadcast, you will also be able to see the segment there.


Eastside Cafe.
The front of Eastside Cafe.

Now I’d like to jump back in time, to mid-April and the above “Where Poetry Lives” shoot. I had the opportunity to head West and see the final segment being made. Visiting the Eastside Café in El Sereno and InsideOUT Writers in Los Feliz, and seeing Antioch grad students run workshops and writing circles, I realized anew that poetry can connect us all—and earning a Master’s Degree in poetry writing can strengthen instead of undermine that connection.


Finally, let me return to the more recent past, and Natasha’s final lecture as Poet Laureate. You can read an insightful follow-up in The Washington Post—I can only add that it showcased Natasha’s intelligence, commitment, and great compassion. I can’t wait to read it on the page, and to think through some of the more powerful points Natasha made, about her predecessor Robert Penn Warren and the power of poetry to help us “quarrel with ourselves,” as Yeats says.

And now to the now, and the near future—I look forward to seeing the last “Where Poetry Lives” and to appreciate the series in its entirety, as a testament to Natasha and of course to the art she has worked so hard to champion these past two years.