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‘I, too, sing America’: readers share poetry to conquer hate

After four congresswomen faced racist attacks last week, we asked Guardian readers to share inspiring lines from poems and literature about overcoming hate

After a chant of send her back broke out at Donald Trumps rally in North Carolina last week, the Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar responded by posting several lines from the Maya Angelou poem Still I Rise on Twitter.

Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Ill rise.

-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B

July 18, 2019

The Guardian and Pen America asked a number of writers and poets including Min Jin Lee, Gregory Pardlo and Andrew Solomon to share favorite lines from poetry and literature about overcoming hatred.

We also asked you, our readers, to share favorite lines. What follows is a selection of your submissions.

I dont need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And Ill be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.

I will constitute the field.

excerpt from Witchgrass by Louise Glck

We grow up forgetting
our incidental placements
become fond of whatever
bread and religion we are fed.

excerpt from I Didnt Ask For My Parents by Sholeh Wolp

Nobel
The Nobel peace prize winner Martin Luther King Jr and his wife, Coretta, arrive to deliver the traditional address at the University of Oslo on 11 December 1964. Photograph: Anonymous/AP

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

excerpt from Martin Luther King Jrs Nobel peace prize acceptance speech

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
Ill be at the table
When company comes.

excerpt from I, Too by Langston Hughes

Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
are you.
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
Remember.

excerpt from Remember by Joy Harjo

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/25/poetry-conquer-hate-ilhan-omar-maya-angelou

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