Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Using Poetry To Expose The Power Of Money, Class And Gender

Alissa Quart is a journalist, a keen observer of our culture and a believer in the power of poetry to cut to the heart of issues around us: money, class, gender and the environment.

She has just released her first book of poetry that is both personal and universal – inspired by work and research she has done as a journalist.

Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins speaks to Quart about her book, “Monetized,” and why she chose poetry as the medium to discuss these issues.

Book Excerpt: ‘Monetized’

By Alissa Quart



One day you are ordering extra

olives and the next day, one

of The Damned.

I had worked this carapace

that I lived in: modular, notched,

pieces of oak. I built myself

of driftwood, cables.

My face forced yet nonchalant.

Sometimes I was an artist’s

wife, my dress long, hair

a sheaf. Sometimes

I was an extra on Cop Rock.

A singing policewoman

waiting for crimes

to be committed.

Sometimes I prevailed:

a memo, lithographic,

afternoon-like, sharp-edged.

The stamp of unbelonging

had always belonged to me.

Soon I returned to anywhere

but the beginning.

Homes of cockroaches.

Sunken rooms of bruisers.

Islands of police Sirens.

Each year was broken

back into pieces

of driftwood, as if born

to lose. An explosive device

in every pot.


  • Alissa Quart, journalist, author, and poet. Her new book of poems is ‘Monetized.’ She tweets @lisquart.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit