NPR Tries (and Fails!) With a 'News Poet'

Sometimes, NPR doesn't waste taxpayer making liberal propaganda, but wastes money trying to be on the cusp of contemporary culture. NPR's latest invention for its evening newscast All Things Considered is the "news poet," someone who follows the NPR crew around in their DC studios to compose a poem on the spot. There's one small problem: the few experiments this year haven't been about the "news" or current events at all.

On Tuesday night, anchor Robert Siegel announced that poet Paisley Rekdal, the author of poetry collections titled A Crash of Rhinos and Six Girls Without Pants, was inspired by story ideas that didn't make it on the newscast: "seabirds ingesting plastic, Russian floods, rooftop missiles to protect the Olympic games" -- and an NPR staffer moving to Texas. The precious poem that resulted -- about how "if life was an app, we'd call it Sisyphus" -- was just a modern mess:  

Should Rick go to Texas
is a question for the ages, so much
we've developed an app for his decision, to ease
the agony that may appear ridiculous and yet,
small as it is, how much time is spent
wavering in uncertainty: the heart more device now
than compass, which itself was once
an apparatus? If life was an app we'd call it
Sisyphus: why, when we can control floodwaters
and blood, not free ourselves
to be what we are: an ice cube melting
in a sun-warmed glass, the brothel
slowly sliding into a sinkhole?
Didn't we realize too many options
would make us only smaller
increments of time? What choice
when we know the end is the same,
any rooftop can hide a missile, and plastic
still winds up in the belly of the albatross?
It is our decisions that make, not mark,
the journey now. Imagine yours erased:
what would you save, forget; which shifts of the heart
could you begin to follow? Such is the state
that Rick will face: its arid, expansive plot.
And yet, few hopes remain he'll stay the course.
Even with our GPS
he'll manage to get lost.

Culture/Society All Things Considered NPR Paisley Rekdal Robert Siegel
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