Ashley M. Jones and JoAnn Balingit in Conversation

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This week, Ashley M. Jones and JoAnn Balingit talk about where poetry lives in the face of loss and grief, and how that intimate place can be shared. Balingit’s intimate approach to poetry has had to consider a wider audience during her tenure as poet laureate of Delaware. For example, when Balingit received a request from the Philippine embassy to write a poem, she said yes—but not without pause. The poem was to mark the 75th anniversary of Philippine-American relations. As Balingit put it, “This was a fraught request about a troubled relationship.” Her response was to write a Tanaga—a Filipino poetic form—alongside three other poets who also wrote Tanagas for the embassy marking the occasion. All four poems are in the July/August 2021 issue of Poetry. Today you’ll hear “Tanaga: Song Where Every Filipinx Person Is Standing by the Ocean.”

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