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.

Originally Published: June 1st, 2010
Appeared in Poetry Magazine This Appears In