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Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I was puzzled and disappointed by your current issue [“Q&A,” December 2012]. Why would any poet be willing to answer absurd questions about what a poem means or how he or she was feeling? Poetry is not therapy. Once a poem is finished it no longer belongs to the poet. No one is more interested in the lives of poets than I am. In fact, I have just begun reading Stephen Spender’s book on T.S. Eliot. Spender recounts Eliot refusing to tell an inquiring student what he meant by a particular line. Samuel Beckett also famously refused to say what his writing meant. Beckett was a great writer and a heroic figure, but to have answered these questions would have dragged him into mediocrity where “human voices wake us and we drown.”

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

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