Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Ross Coggins
Dear Editor,
I am just beginning to realize my grief over the disappearance of classical poetry. Having loved over a lifetime those magical moments when rhyme, meter, and ideas discover each other, I look in vain for poems that simply must be committed to memory. When I grew up in the forties, "declamation" was a wonderful classroom experience in which we competed in the recitation of classic poems. That generated within me a lifelong habit of memorizing countless magnificent poems. A recent experience brought home to me just how meaningful that habit has been. The necessity of undergoing forty radiation treatments, during which I had to lie perfectly motionless for some twenty minutes, would have been quite daunting had I not suddenly realized that the mental recitation of poems like "Invictus" and verses from Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard" actually transformed the experience into moments of peaceful reflection. I ask you to publish, at least occasionally, the work of any current poets who might help us to reclaim the majesty of classical poetry.

Sherwood Forest, Maryland

Originally Published: May 1, 2007

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This prose originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2007

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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