Letter from Poetry Magazine

Christian Wiman Responds

by Christian Wiman

Daniel D’Arezzo is correct in assuming that I am tired of being a cheerleader for poetry. As I say in the essay, all such cheerleading “is defensive and misguided, not because there is no hope for elevating poetry’s importance, but because its power is already greater than any public attention can confer upon it.”

I’m sympathetic to Tim McGrath’s fatigue with Modernism but disagree with his overall assessment. I’m with W.B. Yeats, who thought that Modernism produced the greatest English-language 
poetry since the Renaissance. We’re still (rightly) wrestling with that inheritance.

Originally Published: December 4, 2012

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This prose originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2012

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Biography

Poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College.
 
Making use of—and at times gently disassembling—musical and metrical structures, Wiman often explores themes of spiritual faith and doubt in his spare, precise poems. Praising Wiman’s “ear for silence” in a review of Every Riven Thing for . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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