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Poems for Political Disaster

This collection gathers poems—from the eve of the twenty-first century to the month following Trump’s election—to mark a moment of political rupture, summoning the collective strength found in the languages of resistance and memory, subversion and declamation, struggle and hope.


Chapbook is a Boston Review publication that reflects on and responds to our contemporary moment. The very first in the series, Poems for Political Disaster, emerged as a response to Donald Trump’s election.

“When freedom is in danger, when you are asked, in one faked way or another, a shabby admonition, to leave your own humanity which includes the humanity of all, the alarm is extra-ordinary, America. Don’t you think so? You must respond, America. You must speak out, you must write.”

— U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, from the Foreword


Juan Felipe Herrera

The Ingenuity of Animal Survival
Peter Gizzi

In November We Inched Closer
Mary Jo Bang

America (after Allen Ginsberg)
Craig Santos Perez

In Which Rising Inequality Eventually Triggers Countervailing Social Dislocations
Dara Wier

In the Event of an Apocalypse, Be Ready to Die
Khadijah Queen

The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act
Lucie Brock-Broido

We’ll Go No More a Roving
Shane McCrae

English as a Second Language
Nathan Xavier Osorio

Letter to a City under Siege
Carolyn Forché

Inauguration Poem
Lynn Melnick

Concord Grapes
Stephanie Burt

You the Recoil
Susan Briante

Maureen N. McLane

Women Own a Violence Too
Amy King

Matthew Zapruder

Watch Us Elocute
Marcus Wicker

Bad Intelligence
Corey Van Landingham

Safe House
Solmaz Sharif

America! America!
Ricardo Maldonado

A Guide to Usage: Mine
Monica Youn

I Want to Read at the White House
Joshua Clover

Carmen Giménez Smith

from Atopia
Sandra Simonds

Major Jackson

from We Lived Happily During the War
Ilya Kaminsky

Linear Travel
Wendy Xu

Days of 2016
Ange Mlinko

Sat Down and Wept by Lake and Cloud Gear
Calvin Bedient

Filibuster to Delay Them All
Katie Peterson

Andrew Zawacki

Jorie Graham

Jericho Brown

Dorothea Lasky

Poem of Hope, Almost at Equinox
Brenda Hillman

To Classes
Geoffrey G. O’Brien

the experiment
Juan Felipe Herrera

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