Emma Lazarus Project

The Emma Lazarus Project explores the story of Emma Lazarus, a fifth-generation American Jew caught in an important turning point in American and Jewish History. The initiative—including an exhibit, curriculum and poetry contest—uses primary sources straight from the archive to encourage students to piece together Emma’s fascinating story, and to join the ongoing conversation about American identity.

Threnody for Libertas

by Dana Blatte

High School



Give me your tired, your poor,
your waterlogged mouths of rubble,
your salt-lipped bleeding
tongues & prayer-bent palms.
Look: lady liberty, guardian
of shipwrecks & wayward bodies.
Guide us ashore by rusted torchlight
& we will walk together —
stone & skin,
immigrant & ferryman.

Give me your tired, your poor,
your rumbling stomachs hungry
to build your bones anew.
Look — lady liberty,
we are both shipwrecks.
Your promises easier said than done
& ours, heavy behind our feet.

Give me your tired, your poor,
your skin sweating under foreign sun,
& we will make dreamers out of you —
look: lady liberty, angel
clothed in green. We unravel your compass
& unbend our palms —
this shore, bled with ours
& promised to the weary.

Dana Blatte is a sixteen-year-old from Massachusetts. Her work is published or forthcoming in Fractured Lit, Kissing Dynamite, Parentheses Journal, and more, and has been recognized by NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program and the Pulitzer Center, among others.