An Evolving Anthology
by Emily Jaeger, Features Editor
Poetry Daily has a simple premise: publish a stellar poem every day, by a different emerging or established poet. And modest beginnings have led to an impressive and constantly evolving “anthology of contemporary poetry.” An enjoyable read for all poets and poetry enthusiasts, Poetry Daily showcases the range of contemporary poetic pursuits while simultaneously shedding light on literary publishing today.
Subscriptions are free, and readers can either receive the poem to their inbox, download the iPhone app, or visit the site, where the home page contains links to the poem, the author’s bio, and a brief summary of the author’s recent work or books. Co-editors Don Selby and Diane Boller write: “The daily poem is selected for its literary quality and to provide you with a window on a very broad range of poetry offered annually by publishers large and small.”
In addition to the poem of the day, the site contains a number of useful features. In the archive, readers can search poems by author, title, or date. The weekly blog, “A Poetry Daily Prose Feature,” publishes essays, reviews, or other miscellaneous pieces by guest authors, such as Jessica Greenbaum’s interview with Marilyn Hacker.
Under “Poetry Daily News,” the site offers a helpful conglomerate of international poetry news, from The New York Times announcement of the Nobel Prize for Literature to interviews with featured poet, Anaïs Duplan, in Divedapper.
In a recent series, “Poetry Daily Poets’ Picks,” poets were asked to select and analyze one of their favorite poems. These mini-essays provide crucial insight into the writing processes of influential contemporary poets and bring historical pieces to life. For example, Cornelius Eady writes an impassioned essay about Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought from Africa to America:”
On Being Brought from Africa to America
‘Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train.”
—Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
Eady calls for the inclusion of Wheatley at the front and center of the national literary canon. The crux of the poem, he argues, is the cruel economics of awareness:
Knowledge has a price; learning the word your owners use for who you used to be and what you didn’t know has a price. Becoming aware of not only who you are, but the way you’re looked at has a price.”
Beyond highlighting Wheatley’s apt vision, Eady’s essay, along with the others in this series, show the potential of what a great poem can do. Subscribing to Poetry Daily can only lead to an inbox full of similar gems.
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