Joseph Epstein always provides a wonderful read, but I think he is wrong about the poet laureate job. He ignores the delightful work done by, for instance, John Betjeman, who was commanded by Charles to write a poem to mark the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales. It is a charmer, and if the tag line "You knelt a boy, you rose a man / And thus your lonelier life began" does not rival "Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang," yet it lingers in the memory, surpasses any newspaper article, and makes a contribution to culture, whatever that is. I'm for having laureates in every state, school, and college, but also, I must say, for making them earn their keep.
Newtown Square, Pennsylvania