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In the Absence of Sparrows: James Foley Remembered

photo: Manu Brabo

Poet Daniel Johnson and Journalist James Foley formed a bond nearly 20 years ago when they taught together in the Teach For America program. Together they made a pact that they would be writers. Foley was a groomsman at Daniel's wedding and went on to be godfather to Daniel's son.  They saw each other when they could and remained close friends until Foley was killed in Syria on August 19th.  

Today the Academy of American Poets features Daniel Johnson's powerful poem "In the Absence of Sparrows", along with an accompaning essay, honoring his close friend.  Johnson began the poem as way to remember Foley during his captivities, first in Libya and later Syria. Through Johnson's poignant and heartbreaking poem, we learn who James was: a young, fearless man with strong passions and dedicated to his beliefs.    

Learn more:

Special thanks to the staff at the Academy of American Poets. 


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Foley's murder was hearbreakingly sad.. but all journalists who go to work in such areas and situations know of the inherent risk to their lives.

And the international

And the international community is not refuting that. However, that doesn't change the fact that injustice has been done. All we want is to be able to guarantee security for reporters who go to these regions and honour the lives of those who've become martyrs in their quest of news, like James Foley.

Many thanks for linking to

Many thanks for linking to Daniel Johnson's poem and essay.

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