What would the Statue of Liberty have to say about immigration today? | KUOW News and Information

What would the Statue of Liberty have to say about immigration today?

Oct 12, 2016

In "The Newer Colossus," Seattle performance poet and novelist Karen Finneyfrock gives voice to one of the most recognizable icons of America's immigrant history: the Statue of Liberty.

She told KUOW's Elizabeth Austen that a childhood visit to the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus' 1883 poem "The New Colossus," which is engraved on the statue's pedestal, form part of the background inspiration for her poem.  

But what prompted Finneyfrock to imagine a present-day voice for Lady Liberty was news of the death of would-be Chinese immigrants, who died after stowing away in a container ship bound for Seattle. 

Finneyfrock wrote the poem in 2011. Elizabeth Austen talks with KUOW's Marcie Sillman about why the poem feels newly relevant in the current election season.

Finneyfrock is the author of the poetry collection "Ceremony for the Choking Ghost" and two young adult novels, "Starbird Murphy and  the World Outside" and "The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door."  She co-edited the anthology, "Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls." 

Tags: