Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, there was an outpouring from poets across the country as they attempted to absorb the horrific event. By mid-1964, Basic Books published a collection of works from prominent American and British poets entitled Of Poetry and Power: Poems Occasioned by the Presidency and the Death of John F. Kennedy. It included poems by well-known writers like Gwendolyn Brooks, W. H. Auden, A. R. Ammons, and Donald Hall, among many others. In the following year, Folkways Records released an album of selections from the book. The recordings convey an immediacy of the work of these artists as they attempted to creatively come to grips with the shock of Kennedy’s death and its impact on them personally and on the country as a whole.
Metered Response to a President’s Murder