Last year was big for Big Brother, and 2014 is shaping up similarly. The queasy ethics of observation continue to fill front pages across the country, from the Snowden affair to the limited release of Google Glass. What is privacy, anyway, in an age of drone strikes and targeted advertising? What are our rights?

These poets—heightened observers by profession—have contributed new works, political and personal alike, entering into a larger dialogue on what it means to have open eyes and ears in the twenty-first century. Poetry is not a mirror held up to the world; it is a lens.

Editors' Note: Many of these poems are part of Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics, forthcoming from Black Ocean. The online version of this feature contains four poems that did not appear in the print issue.

Photograph: fotdmike