News Poem: ‘The Great Experiment’


“The United States is a fabulous, incredible place. We love spectacle, the more grotesque, farcical, comic and over-the-top the better — and the real head-spinning American gut-buster today is happening in Washington. The best program notes for that show that I can recommend this week were written by Joyce Carol Oates. I’m talking about her review of Mike Tyson’s biography.”

This is the second piece Ivan Frankic has contributed to the News-Stained Poetry project. He wrote a poem on the government shutdown this fall.

The Colorado Independent‘s News-Stained Poetry Project features poems that are about the news, products of the news, responses to the news. “News stained” is meant as a badge of honor, a reference to the long tradition of the poet as witness. As Carolyn Forché wrote, politics can sometimes be seen as a “contaminant to serious literary work,” something to be avoided. But that way of thinking, she said, “gives the political realm too much and too little scope… It renders the personal too important and not important enough.” News developments, whether or not they are reported, shape our personal lives every day. We don’t often think in the moment about how that is happening and what it means. We should think more about it. Poets think about it. And we want to help encourage them to write more about it.

Please send submissions to, subject line “poem,” with a short bio and some mention of where and when the poem was written.


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