THE NEW COLUSSUS by Emma Lazarus (followed by Readers’ Poems for 2017)
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(This poem is in the public domain and In Poets.org 2018)
“The New Colossus” was first published in 1903 in The New York Times.
Emma Lazarus was born on July 22, 1849. She is the author of Songs of a Semite (The American Hebrew, 1882), Admetus and Other Poems (Hurd and Houghton, 1871), and others. She died on November 17, 1887.
Donald Trump’s presidency has upended aspects of American society previously perceived as bipartisan norms, challenging even the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty.
When Stephen Miller, a senior Trump advisor, dismissed the famous poem at the base of the statue, many viewed his opposition as an attack on the American values of equality and opportunity.
In response, we asked Guardian readers to reimagine The New Colossus in a style that would be to Trump’s liking. Below is a small selection of the 600 poems we received. We also asked 21 well-known poets to do the same. You can read their work here, including contributions from the Pulitzer prize winner Rita Dove and the Inuit poet Joan Kane.