edited by Martín Espada
contributions by Rafael Campo, Cyrus Cassells, Hayan Charara, Chen Chen, Brian Clements, Jim Daniels, Kwame Dawes, Chard deNiord, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Dante DiStefano, Julia Alvarez, Kathy Engle, George Evans, Tarfia Faizullah, Carolyn Forché, Denice Frohman, Danielle Legros Georges, Aracelis Girmay, Ruth Goring, Adam Grabowski, Laurie Anne Guerrero, Doug Anderson, Sam Hamill, Samuel Hazo, Juan Felipe Herrera, Jane Hirshfield, Everett Hoagland, Lawrence Joseph, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dorianne Laux, Paul Mariani, Demetria Martínez, Naomi Ayala, Paul Martínez Pompa, Julio Marzán, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Marty McConnell, Leslie McGrath, Richard Michelson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Kamilah Aisha Moon, David Mura, John Murillo, Benjamin Balthaser, Maria Nazos, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Willie Perdomo, Emmy Peréz, Marge Piercy, Sasha Pimentel, Robert Pinsky, Gabriel Ramírez, Sean Bates, Luivette Resto, Peggy Robles-Alvarado, Luis J. Rodríguez, William Pitt Root, Patrick Rosal, Joseph Ross, Nicholas Samaras, Ruth Irupé Sanabria, Lauren Schmidt, Tim Seibles, Jan Beatty, Katherine DiBella Seluja, Don Share, Patricia Smith, Gary Soto, Mark Turcotte, Brian Turner, Chase Twichell, Pamela Uschuk, Elisabet Velasquez, Richard Villar, Tara Betts, Ocean Vuong, George Wallace, Afaa M. Weaver, Eleanor Wilner, Daisy Zamora, Danez Smith, Elizabeth Alexander, Marcelo Hernández Castillo, Brenda Marie Osbey, Donald Hall, Richard Blanco, Bruce Weigl, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, torrin a. greathouse and Adrian Louis
Northwestern University Press, 2019
Paper: 978-0-8101-4077-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-4083-7
Library of Congress Classification PS595.P634W48 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.608035873933


This is an anthology of poems in the Age of Trump—and much more than Trump. These are poems that either embody or express a sense of empathy or outrage, both prior to and following his election, since it is empathy the president lacks and outrage he provokes.

There is an extraordinary diversity of voices here. The ninety-three poets featured include Elizabeth Alexander, Julia Alvarez, Richard Blanco, Carolyn Forché, Aracelis Girmay, Donald Hall, Juan Felipe Herrera, Yusef Komunyakaa, Naomi Shihab Nye, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Danez Smith, Patricia Smith, Brian Turner, Ocean Vuong, Bruce Weigl, and Eleanor Wilner. They speak of persecuted and scapegoated immigrants. They bear witness to violence: police brutality against African Americans, mass shootings in a school or synagogue, the rage inflicted on women everywhere. They testify to poverty: the waitress surviving on leftovers at the restaurant, the battles of a teacher in a shelter for homeless mothers, the emergency-room doctor listening to the heartbeats of his patients. There are voices of labor, in the factory and the fields. There are prophetic voices, imploring us to imagine the world we will leave behind in ruins lest we speak and act.

However, this is not merely a collection of grievances. The poets build bridges. One poet steps up to translate in Arabic at the airport; another walks through the city and sees her immigrant past in the immigrant present; another declaims a musical manifesto after the hurricane that devastated his island; another evokes a demonstration in the street, shouting in an ecstasy of defiance. The poets take back the language, resisting the demagogic corruption of words themselves. They assert our common humanity in the face of dehumanization.