Auden Was Wrong

    Does poetry make anything happen? Auden said no but who would argue that America is no better for the publication of Leaves of Grass? Who would argue that the wide readership that we have seen in recent years for novels by Toni Morrison or the popular poetry of Bily Collins has not made our nation a more reflective and discerning place? Poetry will not influence a tyrant beyond the arrest of the poets but it may influence what comes after. Last year the University of Iowa Press published an astonishing collectonof poems that were written by the captives at Guantanamo Bay. We stand today in the expectation that this prison will be closed and that the individuals who have been detained there will at last be accorded their human rights under the bylaws of the Geneva Convention.

Poetry is slow. It is generally the case that the human conscience is steadfast though it lacks initial speed.  

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Auden Was Wrong”

  1. You know more about poetry than I ever will and yet I must disagree with your assessment with regard to the speed with which poetry can change society and the individuals that make up the citizenry of this country. I recall reading the first poem in Crippled Poetics this year and being deeply moved. I copied the poem and sent it to members of my family who in turn sent it to others. This poem energized me to write, my family to act, and we are better people because of a single poem, one that put the “wind in my cripple”.


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