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Featured Poet Indran Amirthanayagam

Indran Amirthanayagam writes poetry in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He won the 1994 Paterson Prize for his first book The Elephants of Reckoning.  A past fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and the U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture, Amirthanayagam lives currently in Haiti. His latest books are Uncivil War (Tsar Publications (now Mawenzi House), Toronto, Canada), Aller-Retour Au Bord de la Mer (Legs Editions, Haiti) and Ventana Azul (El Tapiz del Unicornio, Mexico, 2016)

Amirthanayagam has published 11 books to date. He has also published essays and articles in the New York Times, the Hindu, El Norte, Reforma, among other publications.

Poetry can be a prayer. Amirthanayagam lives and works in Haiti where he sees much to pray for. Poetry can be a wish upon a star for our betterment, but better still, words can be “an Agenda.” Today’s poet shows a force of character in clear elegant lines that respect space and decorum on the page. Beneath the couplets there is a strong will, anger, weariness, and a powerful cry. Indran knows better than to scream his song. To get the truth he simply sings. These are plain words from a pure heart. And as J.F. Kennedy said “When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”
— Grace Cavalieri

Agenda for the New Year

Let us make peace this New
Year in our homes, our streets,

in our letters, our tweets,
our support for refugees, and

administration of just laws,
and rewriting of unjust decrees

and rules in our fifty states
and our one globe. Let freedom

take up the reins everywhere
and let us not build weapons

of our own destruction. Let us
bury hatchets and disputes, be

kind to our neighbors! Let us
not build any more walls.

Let us use wind, water and
sun to energize us. Let us go

to the streets and into media
streams to speak freely and

protect the back of our democracy.
Let us get our queer and straight

hearts to pump and pump,
our black and white minds

to strip off the fungus of
difference from our daily bread

and let us eat together and
crush grapes together and work

everywhere to remind the houses
of power that people give and

people take away, and we
the people are writing this poem.

Grace Cavalieri is founder and producer of “The Poet and the Poem“ on public radio, now from the Library of Congress. She celebrates 40 years on-air in 2017. She’s has 18 books and chapbooks published, the latest is WITH (Somondoco Press, 2016.) Cavalieri has had 26 plays produced on American stages. Her newest play is “ANNA NICOLE: BLONDE GLORY.” The play is inspired by Anna Nicole: Poems, published by GOSS183. Her poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “Verse Daily” and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry.”  She is the managing poetry editor for PoetsArtists.