We discuss the life and legacy of award-winning poet Lucille Clifton. Clifton was a Buffalo native whose work celebrated Black womanhood, identity, and resilience. She won the National Book Award for Poetry and was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

BOA Editions is publishing a new collection of her work. Our guests discuss that collection – “How to Carry Water” – and how it intersects with current events. We also discuss BOA's upcoming Dine & Rhyme event honoring Clifton. Our guests:

  • Sidney Clifton, television and film producer, and daughter of Lucille Clifton
  • Cornelius Eady, poet and co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation
  • Peter Connors, publisher for BOA Editions
  • Alison Meyers, executive director of Writers & Books

Naomi Shihab Nye is the current poetry editor for New York Times Magazine, and was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate for 2019-2021. Her most recent collection of poems, “The Tiny Journalist,” puts a human face on war and violence. It was inspired by a young Palestinian activist.

Nye will be in Rochester this Friday as a guest of BOA Editions, but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss her work, the role of poetry, and the impact young people can have on social movements. Our guests:

We sit down with local poet Charlie Coté. His first full-length collection of poems, “I Play His Red Guitar,” laments and celebrates the loss of his 18-year-old son Charlie, who died from cancer in 2005. The poems are raw, emotional, and sensory – an examination of a father’s and a family’s grieving process.

We talk with Coté about his collection, how writing helped him process his grief, the art of poetry, and more. In studio:

  • Charlie Coté, author of “I Play His Red Guitar”

It’s National Poetry Month, and we're joined by local, award-winning local poets who discuss their art, how poetry can give marginalized groups a voice, and about how we teach poetry in schools.

In studio:

Lebanese poet Jawdat Fakhreddine wrote his collection of poems, Lighthouse for the Drowning, while living in exile in the United States during Lebanon's civil war. The book was published in Arabic in 1996, and in 2017, BOA Editions published the first English translation. 

Fakhreddine is in Rochester for a bilingual poetry reading organized by BOA, but first, we talk to him about the story behind the collection, how poetry can serve as a symbol of liberation for war-torn communities, and how universal truths resonate across cultures. Our guests:

  • Jawdat Fakhreddine, author of Lighthouse for the Drowning
  • Huda Fakhreddine, Jawdat's daughter and co-translator for Lighthouse for the Drowning
  • Peter Connors, publisher for BOA Editions

In the middle of National Poetry Month, we spend some time with poets and their work. We discuss upcoming events, and we talk about poetry's place in the classroom.

  • Craig Morgan Teicher, author of the collection of poems, The Trembling Answers
  • Banke Awopetu, author of Always Want More, and budding poet
  • Albert Abonado, poet and director of adult programs at Writers & Books

Born In the USA is perhaps one of the most misunderstood songs in American history. This week, we've heard several radio stations play it as an homage to American greatness at the Olympics. Someone should tell them the song is about how awful our country was to Vietnam veterans.

But that has us wondering: what are the most mistaken or misunderstood pieces of art across the genres? From music to painting to poetry to literature, our panel tells us where we're routinely going wrong. (We're looking at you, Guy With the Road Not Taken Poster.) Our guests: