Monday, March 3, 2014

from "American Poetry in the New Century" by John Barr

When poets come to pay as much attention to how they live as to what they write, that may mark one new beginning for poetry. As a Zen tea master, long before the ceremony of making tea, prepares the garden for his guests, sweeps the walk, cleans and composes the room, so poets should give their first attention to the lives they lead. Indeed, if they do not, on what authority can they claim to be Shelley's "unacknowledged legislators of the world?" Indeed, if they do not, how can poetry be a moral act? How can poets answer for the effects of what they write on how their readers live? Poets should live broadly, then write boldly. 

Read the rest here.

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