Poets Reading the News is the innovative literary journal publishing original, extraordinary poetry about current events.

Poets Reading the News’ mission is to enact poetry’s vital cultural function as a processor for violence, cultural complexity, and political change for a society overwhelmed by the headlines. We’re out to prove what we know is true: in times of darkness, poetry is essential reading. 

The publication came to life in the lush grounds of Oakland’s experimental creative scene. Since those early days, and many thousands of passionate hours later, this publication’s in-depth and fast-moving poetic coverage has redefined the scope and pace of poetry for the digital age. This is what breaking poetry looks like.

We have published hundreds of original poems from writers around the world tackling urgent issues from the Trump administration to gun violence, climate change to technology, race to immigrant detention. We have published the U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, established poets and emergent writers from over 25 countries.

Poets Reading the News is known for curating dynamic, unique events that connects poetry with artists, activism and community. We host open mics, poetry installations, community dialogues, reading series, appear at poetry festivals and conferences, and teach the art of journalistic poetry at writing workshops around the country. If you would like PRTN to collaborate with your community, please get in touch.

We are 100% community-funded! Please consider joining our Patreon or making a tax-deductible donation

Co-founded by J Spagnolo and Elle Aviv Newton, it continues to run under a shared leadership model. Newton’s focus is on editing, publishing, poetry events and workshops while Spagnolo’s is on nonprofit organization and development, public relations, live events, and education. We have recently expanded with a team of Assistant Poetry Editors, a Curatorial Editor, and Editorial Coordinators to help make the machine hum.

We’ve got a unique origin story and philosophy. You can read all about it in this cool interview in Ivoh Magazine. Or this write-up in the East Bay Express. Listen to us on NPR with Lois Reitzes, our hour-long radio special on KPFA, and on the No Good Poetry podcast in New Orleans.


Co-Executive Directors

Elle Aviv Newton
Editor in Chief

J Spagnolo
Strategic Director

Assistant Poetry Editors

Michel Krug

Ariana Den Bleyker

Catherine Strayhall

Rachel Nolan

Curatorial Editor

Andrea Orta-Diaz

Editorial Coordinators

Malea Martin

Chezyrome David

Research & Finance Associate

Steve Karamitros