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The New Colossus

While “The New Colossus” once welcomed immigrants into New York Harbor from its perch on the Statue of Liberty, this episode brings the discussion of poetry and immigration into our current moment. Host Elisa New rediscovers the freshness and the still-potent charge of Emma Lazarus’s iconic sonnet alongside singer-songwriter Regina Spektor, activist and co-founder of United We Dream Cristina Jiménez, President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten, financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein, and poet Duy Doan. This episode contemplates the physical—and figurative—journeys charted by all immigrants.

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Read the Poem

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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