The Big Read Blog (Archive)

What Work Is

Philip Levine, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, is 84 years old. Kristen Dupard, the 2012 Poetry Out Loud National Champion, just graduated high school. Though decades apart in age and miles apart in geography---she's from Ridgeland, Mississippi; he's from Detroit---they share something so rare that it defies classification. Last week, the two sat down to discuss his poem, "What Work Is," which also happens to be the poem that helped her clinch the POL Championship. In addition to talking about the poem's origin, Kristen recited the poem right in front of its author. Talk about pressure. But, just like in May, she nailed it. Here's a video of her recitation and their conversation.


Thanks for watching and sharing.


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