Four Poets Reflect on the Role of Poetry In Challenging Times

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Poets Aja Monet, Jasmine Mans, Solmaz Sharif, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, (Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images, Redens Desrosiers, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Arash Saedinia)

Renowned poet June Jordan viewed poetry as a way of “taking control of the language of your life” and as “a foundation for true community.” Jordan, who started the Poetry for the People program at the University of California Berkeley, thoughtof poetry as a way to speak truth. We check in with four poets -- Jasmine Mans, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Aja Monet and Solmaz Sharif -- about making art during a challenging time, and what poems are sustaining their spirits. And, we want to hear from you, what are the first few lines of your favorite poem and what poets are you reading these days?


Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, poet and author, "Cenzontle" and "Children of the Land"

Jasmine Mans, poet and author, "Black Girl, Call Home"

Aja Monet, surrealist blues poet, storyteller, organizer

Solmaz Sharif, poet, assistant professor, Arizona State University