The Power of Poetry

Sometimes the power of poetry is literally a life or death situation.

To Douglas Arnold, who knew how to rhyme poetry with philosophy earlier than anyone.

When W. H. Auden read at Bartley College in 1967, he said “Poetry makes nothing happen.” This pronouncement so distressed David Ramsdell he made plans to burn his own poems on Payne Hall’s front steps. But would there be enough of them for a decent fire? Should he, instead, write Auden? Demand how the famous poet could thrive in such futility and when the great man wrote back, David could tack up the response on his door. But flaming poems would be so much more dramatic. He could stoke the fire with textbooks and term papers, and later tack up the newspaper photo of himself getting arrested for arson. Both were great ideas. Why not do both? Continue reading “The Power of Poetry”

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