Adrian Matejka: Cruelty

Adrian Matejka reflects on cruelty as manifested in American institutions, history, private lives, and the public realm of the past year. He opens with Ai’s invocation of the human hunger for violence (“Cruelty”), Lucille Clifton’s deft blending of imagery and wisdom (“cruelty. don’t talk to me about cruelty”), and Al Young’s meditation on American cruelty as it begins with slavery (“The Slave Ship Desire”). To close, Matejka reads his poem “Somebody Else Sold the World,” which considers the complexities of cruelty in the context of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.Listen to the full recordings of Ai, Clifton, and Young reading for the Poetry Center on Voca:Ai (1972)Lucille Clifton (1983)Al Young (1997) You can also watch a 2016 reading by Adrian Matejka on Voca.

Om Podcasten

Poetry Centered features curated selections from Voca, the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s online audiovisual archive of more than 1,000 recordings of poets reading their work during visits to the Center between 1963 and today. In each episode, a guest poet introduces three poems from Voca, sharing their insights about the remarkable performances recorded in our archive. Each episode concludes with the guest poet reading a poem of their own.