Journalism In Verse


Universal Vault Fire

in Culture by

“These songs will never be heard again,”
– The New York Times

Eleven years ago, they burned. I read the news this morning,
mourned for the nameless gospel choirs and Delta blues this morning.

From the court documents, the losses smolder like doused ruins:
Years of top-forty rock that my brain keeps rattling loose this morning…

After the first death, the poet sang, there is no other
but this, worse than the mangled airplane, the pills and booze this morning.

Archetypes of our joy, our rage, consumed in oily smoke—
How irresistibly the world has turned its screws this morning.

Where did they go, my waist-length hair, my Dreadnought-body Martin,
my songs of revolution? What is my excuse this morning?

My name is no excuse. Will music ever save the world
from universal burning? How much more will we lose this morning?



Maryann Corbett is the author of four books of poems, most recently Street View, and is a past winner of the Richard Wilbur Award and the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. Her work appears widely in journals and is included in The Best American Poetry 2018.

Photo by Samuel Zeller.


The Day The Music Burned
[New York Times]

Latest from Culture



By Richard Garcia. It's another word for remorse.

First Impressions

By henry 7. reneau, jr. On the question of embracing the foreign

The Human Condition

By Denise Sedman. An erasure poem to honor the anniversary of Anthony

In the Bonehouse

By Dawn Manning. A Czech bonehouse, built from over 40,000 skeletons, is
Go to Top