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Tuesday, February 21, 2023


by Indran Amirthanayagam 

The melanoma spread from

skin to liver to brain and

President Jimmy Carter

started to fall often, walking

in the peanut field, at church

on Sunday, at home. He wrote

Always A Reckoning. I wrote

The Elephants of Reckoning

We exchanged our reckonings

in 1997 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

I was assigned to the American

Embassy and sat down with Jimmy,

Rosalynn and Chip to talk

politics, health and environment.

The President visited to gather

facts in his fight against

river blindness, one of countless

maladies and challenges 

he dedicated his life to resolve. 

These included everything 

he faced as president—

hostages, recession, first steps

to making America green

and sustainable—and every 

election after as he traveled 

the world to observe their 

conduct, to help keep them 

safe and free. Jimmy Carter,

you walk blessed, a life 

of good deeds and 

harvests and fighting 

back against the blows, 

approaching a century, 

a marvel. Godspeed. 

Thank you again 

for the poetry.

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books)Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is the newest collection of Indran's own poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun.(Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He won the Paterson Prize and received fellowships from The Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, US/Mexico Fund For Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.