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Marilyn Kallet

The past month has yielded back-to-back tragedies in the United States and around the world that have left many reeling.

Fatal police shootings of black men, shooting deaths of law enforcement officers, and the plowing down of dozens of civilians with a truck are among the calamities that have dominated headlines.

Marilyn Kallet, a UT professor of English, and a poet, put pen to paper in response to one of these tragedies. In June, following the shooting massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub, Kallet wrote an essay about the role of poetry in times of crisis. The essay published this week on the blog of British author Leslie Tate along with a collaborative poem Kallet composed with UT creative writing doctoral student Benjamin McClendon.

“Why do we turn to poetry when we suffer a collective shock? In many tribal societies, songs of healing and chants for wholeness are offered in times of crisis,” Kallet wrote.

Kallet is available to talk to media this week about the ways poetry can connect us to our feelings and each other in times of crisis.


Marilyn Kallet (

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,