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Power and Poetry

As we continue to witness abuses of power at the highest levels of our society, I find myself thinking more and more about the relationship between power and art, specifically poetry. Here is an excerpt of comments made by JFK on 10/26/63 at Amherst College to honor Robert Frost some months after Frost's death:

"Our national strength matters, but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much...Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment. Read More 

What Poetry Tries to Do

I'm not familiar with Gertrude Schnackenberg's work, but this fabulous quote on the motive of poetry makes me want to track down more of it:

“When I said that poetry tries and wants to make contact with reality, that is, with uttermost-being (truth, God, whatness, somethingness-nothingness, chaos-order)—to the Veda seers, the vibrating void;  Read More 

Music, Creation, Chaos, Order

Came across this quote by Lewis Thomas in his collection of essays, The Lives of a Cell:

"If, as I believe, the urge to make music is as much a characteristic of our biology as our other functions, there ought be an explanation for it. Having none at hand, I am free to make  Read More