In our upcoming Fall issue (due out the 1st week of October), we’re excited to announce a new project and give you a preview of it here. In the spirit of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Federal Writer’s Project, we recently enlisted teams of poets, photographers, and radio producers to interview people living on the economic edge and to document their lives.
For “Congregation,” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey and Emmy-nominated photographer Joshua Cogan traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi, to view the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During Trethewey’s trip, the story took an unexpected turn toward the personal—as she reports, in poems, how her own brother’s frustration after Katrina ravaged the economy of the Gulf Coast led him into the world of drugs and eventually landed him in prison.
For “Women of Troy,” poet Susan Somers-Willett and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally look at the lives of young, working-class women in Troy, New York, a industrial powerhouse in the nineteenth century but now a town where few opportunities exist—and those typically in the form of low-paying service jobs.
These pieces will also be turned into radio stories for Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen to air in late September. In Verse comes to you from Public Radio Makers Quest 2.0, an initiative of the Association of Independents in Radio. This project is made possible with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.