Previous: Tim Seibles reads "Poem at 64"
Next: Porsha Olayiwola reads "today is a day of tiny massacres"



View count:2,091
Last sync:2023-03-15 23:00
Cameron Awkward-Rich (he/him/his) reads the poem, “when i stand around among poets” by Lucille Clifton.

Cameron Awkward-Rich:

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and curators Charlotte Abotsi and Sarah Kay. Learn more:

11 issues of Poetry, subscribe today for $20:

Follow us elsewhere for the full Ours Poetica experience:

#poetry #ourspoetica #CameronAwkwardRich
I'm Cameron Awkward-Rich, and I'm going to be reading an untitled poem of Lucille Clifton's, but that goes by the name "when i stand around among poets." And I wanted to read this poem  because I think it really exemplifies  something that I really admire  in all of Clifton's work, which is a kind of refusal to  not let herself be implicated by...  um, otherwise troubling sort  of [indecipherable] that she embodies.

So in this poem she's talking  about both the trouble and  also the beauty of poetry as  an institution and as an art. But I see in this poem also a kind of  trouble with a kind of cis feminism that both relies on the  synecdoche of, of genitals, right?  The great bulge to stand in for  the institution of white men.

But I also see in this poem the thing that draws me to Lucille Clifton's work, nonetheless, and makes me feel like she's my kin. 1 when i stand around among poets i am embarrassed mostly, their long white heads, the great bulge in their pants, their certainties. i don’t know how to do what i do in the way  that i do it. it happens despite me and i pretend to deserve it. but i don’t know how to do it. only sometimes when  something is singing and so far i hear. 2 when i stand around among poets, sometimes  i hear a single music in us, one note  dancing us through the singular moving world.