All cultures have shortish, first-person poems that reflect an experience of the world—in the West we have come to call this “lyric,” a term that goes back at least to Horace, but is certainly centered by Petrarch. Is this a term that can be used to describe poems in non-Western languages, in traditions that do not have a name for lyric? Can poems speak to each other and to readers across linguistic divides? Do poems matter in the real world, in the roughness of political struggle and the poignancy of social belonging?
Curated by Ayesha Ramachandran, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature