Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Arthur H. King Jr.

Dear Editor,

I’m familiar with the classical English and American poets quoted in Poetry, and some of the German. But none of your current poets are within my ken.

Every poem is worth many hours of leisure time. I agree with John Kinsella’s defense of Blake and Shelley [“Letters,” March 2010]: “True politics and true religion are one,” and “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Also, Wallace Stevens: “poetry and apotheosis are one.” Michael Hudson [“Letters,” March 2010] ignores poetry’s powers of redirection, subliminal influence, and germinal thought. To paraphrase Nietzsche, “One requites his teachers badly who remains only a poet.”

One complaint: I deplore gutter language and “naughty child” syndrome in poetry. It’s up to the editor to temper poetic license with aesthetic sensibility. The poet has the same responsibility as the philosopher, the politician, and the priest to remind us that there’s more to a house than the plumbing.

audubon, new jersey

Originally Published: June 1, 2010

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 June 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2010

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.