Conquering Hero

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That’s (part of) the title of this piece on the PEN Center website by Rumpus Poetry Book Club Board member Gabrielle Calvocoressi. It’s absolutely beautiful. Here’s a short sample:

“I’m really glad I had that lousy job because I know what it is to make someone copies at the last minute and to be told the coffee is too cold. I know what it’s like to be so proud of the suit you bought at J. Crew and then hate it after you’re told you don’t look the part. I know why those folks are occupying Wall Street and streets all over the world. Lewis says, “Yet why not risk joy?” It’s true and it’s such a hard thing to do. How do you tell a student like Mehnaz Turner, who I am advising for PEN, that risking joy is as hard and essential as any linebreak one can wrestle with? That maybe it comes from the same place.”


Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →