PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series: Where Poetry Lives


I just finished watching the first segment of PBS NewsHour’s poetry series featuring US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey that aired last night. The segment focused on how poetry and language have enhanced the quality of life for dementia patients and others with memory disorders. I gained a new perspective on memory loss when the people afflicted by memory loss didn’t seem to focus on the loss, but instead described themselves as people who live in the present. Live in the present. That’s often quoted as good advice. If you don’t have another choice or a way to escape the reality of a present that is different than one you may have chosen for yourself if you’d had control of your own mind, then poetry–a means of making language memorable. That’s +1 for the poetry isn’t dead team.

Natasha Trethewey has an essay on her relationship with memory up on the PBS blog.

My own journey in becoming a poet began with memory — with the need to record and hold on to what was being lost.

I’m guessing many of us can say the same. In this way, poetry can be a library of memories available for lending. +2.

Here’s a video of the segment.


Jonterri Gadson is the author of the chapbooks, Interruptions(MIEL, 2014) and Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012). She is the recipient of scholarships/fellowships from Bread Loaf, Cave Canem, University of Dayton and the University of Virginia's Creative Writing MFA program. Her poetry is forthcoming or published in Los Angeles Review, Callaloo, The Collagist, Anti-, PANK and other journals. She is an Assistant Professor of English/Creative Writing at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. More from this author →