Christian Wiman Responds
Daniel D’Arezzo is correct in assuming that I am tired of being a cheerleader for poetry. As I say in the essay, all such cheerleading “is defensive and misguided, not because there is no hope for elevating poetry’s importance, but because its power is already greater than any public attention can confer upon it.”
I’m sympathetic to Tim McGrath’s fatigue with Modernism but disagree with his overall assessment. I’m with W.B. Yeats, who thought that Modernism produced the greatest English-language poetry since the Renaissance. We’re still (rightly) wrestling with that inheritance.
Poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. A former Guggenheim fellow, Wiman served as the editor of Poetry magazine from 2003 to 2013. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College. Making use of—and at times gently...