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

Poetry is looking for thought-provoking responses to work published in the magazine, as well as letters that raise new questions about the state of contemporary poetry. To send us your letter, please fill out all the fields below.

If we choose to use your letter, we will notify you by phone. If you have not heard from us within two weeks of sending your letter, you may assume we will not be using it. All letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may appear online, in print, or both.

Please do NOT send poetry submissions to this account. See Submission Guidelines for further information and policies regarding poetry submissions.


* All fields are required


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

May 2007

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.