A Different Day: A 2021 Poetry Preview, Part 2

Poetry helps us express feelings that don't fit neatly into sentences; confusion and fear but also hope and joy. Here's the second installment of our look ahead at the most exciting poetry of 2021.
Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman speaks at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Source: Drew Angerer

We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

President Biden's inauguration concluded with "The Hill We Climb," National Youth Poet Laureate Amada Gorman's beautiful poem written for the ceremony, which includes the lines above, written after the storming of the Capitol. As recently as yesterday, I could barely allow myself the sort of hope and resolve these lines communicate; I was awash, like so many others, in a miasma of anger, confusion, anxiety and fear.

But today feels like a different day, a new one. Our troubles are far from over, but hope and joy no longer seem ridiculous. This is exactly what poetry is for: to express — through sound, song, form, and feeling — what doesn't fit neatly into regular sentences, the

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