It’s World Refugee Day so I made it a point this year to visit the City of Asylum Poet Houses in Pittsburgh. These are designed to provide refugee poets a safe place to rebuild, imagine, and create.
Programs like this can provide a vital and necessary level of support worth advocating for. I want to take the time to encourage many of us as writers to consider how we encourage and support poets to find their voices, to challenge assumptions and traditions while expressing a future they can see themselves in.
As refugees emerge from disasters, conflicts and other scenarios that force them to leave their pasts behind, there are many questions for them to consider: What happens to their innermost dreams, the stories and ideals they grew up with? There are so many questions about what next.
Sometimes, refugees get to return, and other times, they have to press forward, and this can often be difficult. And literature has historically played a vital role in their personal lives and the arc of their communities during their rebuilding.
Poetry has played, and will continue to play a role in that journey, and I appreciate all of you who’ve been there for the different communities and their poets who were exploring this.