Po­etry: Travel Verse

Poets and Writers - - The Literary Life -

Al­though we of­ten as­so­ciate travel writ­ing with es­says about jour­neys or road­trip nov­els, po­etry has had a long, rich his­tory of as­so­ci­a­tion with travel. Many nine­teenth- and twen­ti­eth-cen­tury po­ems ex­plore wan­der­lust and far­away lo­cales and new modes of trans­porta­tion, which can be seen in the ex­oti­cism of John Mase­field’s “Car­goes” and Rud­yard Ki­pling’s “Man­dalay” and the ro­man­ti­ciza­tion of rail travel in Thomas Hardy’s “On the De­par­ture Plat­form” and Edna St. Vincent Mil­lay’s “Travel.” More re­cent po­ems, such as Khaled Mat­tawa’s “The Road From Biloxi,” Jenny Xie’s “Root­less,” Naomi Shi­hab Nye’s “The Burn,” and Roger Reeves’s “Brazil,” ex­plore themes of iden­tity, mi­gra­tion, and di­as­pora. Write a poem based on a fa­vorite travel mem­ory that brings to mind a rich mix­ture of emo­tions and a con­nec­tion with con­tem­po­rary is­sues, per­haps touch­ing on ideas of alien­ation and be­long­ing, or the al­lure and re­pul­sion of a cer­tain mode of tran­sit. Con­sider the bi­na­ries of travel and home, move­ment and still­ness, the for­eign and the fa­mil­iar. Where have you been and, per­haps more im­por­tant, where are you go­ing?

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