Pulitzer Center Update

Poetry Metagenics at the Pulitzer Center

A boy warms himself in the morning in front of a pile of burning trash in Portmore. Image by Joshua Cogan. Jamaica, 2008.

Poetry can help us reflect and see things we might have missed in everyday life. Poetry can be a call to action or, as Pulitzer Center grantees Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy found in Afghanistan, a way to express dissent when self-expression is dangerous.

Join us in celebrating Poetry Month by re-imagining our content into poems.

Inspired by the serendipitous algorithm-generated poetry of the New York Times Haiku Bot, we're hoping to feed our own award-winning writing through a concept of similar but more human design: the staff and readers of the Pulitzer Center website.

Share your own haiku or poem inspired by our reporting or unintended compositions you find hidden in the articles. Email your submissions to pulitzercenter (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll feature our favorites on our site.

Our resident poet, Jennifer Nguyen, got the ball rolling:

A dividing line
of walls, mines, wire, land and men,
unites Korea.

We write on behalf
those who may risk death for words
this Poetry Month.

When given the "choice"
sick, ailing Cambodians
prefer HIV.

What is a haiku?

Haiku is poetry in three short lines using a 5-7-5 syllable structure. Typically haikus contain strong sensory or synesthetic words and images.

Where to start?

Poetry played a large part in our e-book "Voices of Haiti." Kwame Dawes wrote poems about what he saw and heard in post-earthquake Haiti. We began by looking back to the work that so inspired us to begin publishing our e-books and to the poetry of Kwame Dawes, a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow and Glenna Luschei Editor of the Prairie Schooner, the quarterly literary magazine at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dawes also used poetry in his Pulitzer Center project on living with HIV in Jamaica and the Emmy award-winnning online interactive "Live.Hope.Love."

Check out Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy's project on Afghan women's poetry. You'll also find poetry and poetic language interspersed throughout other articles and videos, so explore the site. Look out for Poetry Magazine's June issue, which will be dedicated to landai poetry collected by Eliza. And join us on July 30, at the Culture Project in NYC for readings of landai poems and a screening of Seamus Murphy's short film Snake. 145 Bleeker Street.

How to submit

You can tweet your haikus to @Pulitzercenter, or send them via email to pulitzercenter (at) gmail (dot) com. We look forward to reading them!

Find other submissions and tag yours with #haikuPC.