Sunday, August 9, 2009

What good is poetry?

This question, from a reader, appeared in Parade Magazine today:

"Why are my tax dollars going to pay a poet laureate when nobody reads poetry?" (emphasis mine)

What??? Nobody reads poetry? Why is it that people generalize their preferences to others? I bet, being from Nebraska, he thinks everyone loves a good beef steak. I sure don't.

Here was Parade's answer, which I thought was far too kind to him:

"'It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there'

wrote the great American poet William Carlos Williams. (We hope you'll look him up!) While it's true that not many people read poetry, they'd probably get a lot out of it if they gave it a try. The current U.S. Poet Laureate, Californian Kay Ryan, earns all of $35,000. But fret not. Her stipend is funded from a private endowment, not tax revenues."

I might have been harsher in my reply.

I need to look up William Carlos Williams...


zmjezhd said...

What good is Parade Magazine or letters to the editor?

Kalleh said...

We could take that one a lot further, couldn't we?