I’m the Poem-A-Day!

| Wild Kingdom

Today, the Academy of American Poets featured my “Syllabus for the Dark Ahead,” as part of its Poem-A-Day series. This poem comes from a manuscript that I’ve been working on since September 2016. Wild Kingdom explores what I’m thinking of as the “hidden, birdlike ferocity of academia.” While many of us hold cherished beliefs about higher education — that these are places of rigorous critical thinking, that they are meritocracies, that professors are not only intellectual but also ethical creatures — there can be darkness in many academic institutions too. And, of course, national arguments about gender, race, socioeconomic inequity, and privilege are also played out in the classrooms and administrative spaces of our colleges and universities. Finally, the lessons we teach our students (even about poetry) are shaped by the larger lessons our students are learning everyday, both on and off campus. In other words, academic is a charged environment where, despite the common refrain, the battles are heated because the stakes are indeed so very high.