Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Donald Justice's 'Collected Poems' Offer Refuge From The Rain

Jun 2, 2013
Originally published on June 20, 2013 9:09 am

Mary Szybist's latest collection of poetry is called Incarnadine.

Donald Justice's Collected Poems, published less than two weeks after his death, is a slender volume for a life's work. At around 300 pages, it could easily be overlooked on a shelf beside the collected work of other poets. Justice wrote slowly. Trained as a pianist when he was young, he attended closely to the textures and music of words. He was a formalist who carried traditional poetic techniques like rhyme and meter forward into thoroughly modern poems that are not interested in making us feel comfortable or special. His poem "Poem" famously begins, "This poem is not addressed to you."

Yet there is something that I find profoundly consoling about his poetry. Justice once commented that meters "seem to propose that an emotion, however uncontrollable it may have appeared originally, was not, in fact, unmanageable." Justice's poems don't include the dark confessional secrets one finds easily enough in poetry of the late 20th century, but they offer language to carry us through experiences that threaten to overwhelm.

Perhaps this is why he is so good at writing in original ways about calamity. "The Assassination," his lyric poem about Robert Kennedy's death, becomes a brief meditation on how the new speeds and the repetitions of news distribution shape a new experience of tragedy; his "Pantoum of the Great Depression" speaks of that difficult era from the point of view of an updated Greek chorus implicitly challenging Aristotle's ideas about tragedy; and his sonnet "The Wall" suggests that the fall of Eden is not really a story of tragedy at all but a vision of humans choosing a more terrifying but also more beautiful world.

Justice's poems not only manage difficulty; they also make something new of it. Consider, for example, this passage from "There is a gold light in certain old paintings," one of Justice's late poems:

The world is very dusty, uncle. Let us work.
One day the sickness shall pass from the earth for good.
The orchard will bloom; someone will play the guitar.
Our work will be seen as strong and clean and good.
And all that we suffered through having existed.
Shall be forgotten as though it had never existed.

The quiet grandeur of these lines makes the prospect of being forgotten no longer feel so grim. What they say affirms the probability of this fate, but how they say it changes the way that I feel in relation to it. The fate of being forgotten becomes linked to a vision of a better future world, one without sickness or the memory of our particular suffering.

The beauty in Justice's work is never achieved by glossing over or minimizing difficulty. His great subject is memory, but he never indulges in simple nostalgia. Instead, he invites us to reflect on nostalgia's dangers, temptations and imaginative pleasures, as well as the way it, like poetry, can be "most beautiful in its erasures." "Think of the past," he instructs. "Think of forgetting the past."

His poems remind us that the ways we imagine the past are intimately connected to the ways we imagine and move into the future. However alienated we might feel from our pasts, or our lives, or ourselves, we have an imaginative relationship to them, one that can be changed, and that can change us. Justice's poem "Bus Stop" speaks of how:

The quiet lives
That follow us --
These lives we lead
But do not own --

Stand in the rain
So quietly
When we are gone,
So quietly. . .

And the last bus
Comes letting dark
Umbrellas out --
Black flowers, black flowers.

These umbrellas, these "black flowers," offer a passing refuge from the rain, and Justice's poems offer similar refuge from worn-out ways of seeing and imagining. His understated, evocative lines charge the imagination and keep the mind moving toward richer connections.

Why read these poems? In the larger sense, the sense that counts, they are addressed to you.

You Must Read This is produced and edited by the team at NPR Books.

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