New at Zócalo

  • Essay

    Are Comedians America’s Great Public Intellectuals?

    Clowns Have Always Served as the Conscience of the Nation—At Their Peril and Maybe Ours, Too

    by Solomon Moore |

    One of Shakespeare’s conceits is the wisdom of clowns. From Feste in Twelfth Night to the Fool in King Lear, they speak truth to power, but tell it slant and …

  • Essay

    American Comedians Are Finally Getting Afghanistan Right

    After Two Decades of Anti-Muslim Jokes and a Disastrous War, Humor Is Succeeding Where Politics Has Failed

    by Ali M. Latifi |

    A joke can be the best way to present real-life issues. Comedians can poke fun at the absurdity of the human condition, even take on topics that feel taboo—like America’s …

  • Essay

    Queen Elizabeth II Knew the Virtues of Being Vanilla

    Not Offering an Opinion Was Key to the Monarch’s Success—A Strategy Her Son Would Do Well to Embrace

    by Matt Qvortrup |

    If the British monarchy is to survive, it needs someone who is as bland as Queen Elizabeth II.

    You would look in vain for any controversial statements made by the queen …

  • Poetry

    by jo reyes-boitel


           Very soon, and in pleasant company.
                    —Chinese fortune

        In a race for a tree, one Mexican soccer player almost beat the rain,
    only to be met at the …

  • News & Notes

    Margita Thompson and Michael Woo Join Zócalo’s Board of Trustees

    Welcome the Former Governor’s Press Secretary and Cal Poly Pomona Dean Emeritus to the Public Square

    We are excited to announce two new members of the Zócalo Public Square Board of Trustees: former California gubernatorial press secretary Margita Thompson and Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental …

  • Culture Class

    Hot Girl Summer Is a Utopian Notion

    We’ll Never Reach Its Coconut-Scented Siren Call, But That Shouldn’t Stop Us From Trying

    by Jackie Mansky |

    Here in Southern California, the Santa Ana winds are blowing, summoning us back to school, back to our routines, back to our lives.

    The potential that once hung so heady in …

  • Prizes

    The 2023 Zócalo Book Prize Honors Explorations of Community

    We’re Looking for the Best Nonfiction Books on Human Connection

    Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the U.S.-published nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness …

  • Prizes

    The 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize Celebrates Poems of Place

    No-Fee Contest Submissions Accepted November 2022–January 2023

    Since 2012, the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize has recognized the U.S. writer of a poem that best evokes a connection to place. Zócalo will begin accepting submissions for our …

  • Connecting California

    Will California Get SMART About Mass Transit?

    A New Train Could Help Battle Climate Change, Serve Expanding Metro Areas, and Create a Northern California Mega-Region

    by Joe Mathews |

    If this train is so SMART, why can’t I find it?

    That’s the question I asked myself in Larkspur, in Marin County, after arriving on the ferry from San Francisco one …

  • Poetry

    by Jose Hernandez Diaz


    I’m smacking around a piñata shaped like a palm tree. It is southern California, mid-summer. The palm tree piñata is swinging back-and-forth beneath the bright summer sun. It is my …