Category: Poetry

Art by Wassily Kandinsky

Several years ago, in a seminar on modern and postmodern lit, I wrote a fun paper on Ezra Pound’s music criticism. In particular, I was interested in Pound’s admiration for Bartok’s String Quartet #5.

Poet/scholar Helen Vendler, the 2004 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, last night gave her address, “The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar,” which is as inspiring a defense of the arts as you’re likely to read.

Less than an hour until President Bush’s national address, and I’m too tired, too frustrated, and too stunned to think. I know that there’s not much lower on the blog food chain than posting a poem without comment, but, well, a friend sent this to me today, and it’s been a source of welcomed comfort.

So, it turns out that Laura Bush just cancelled a planned poetry celebration after learning that one of the invited speakers had encouraged his colleagues to use the event as an opportunity to publicly denounce war on Iraq.

If there’s such thing as a truly legitimate call for the use of art as a practical means to change the world, then it will probably never find a more sure voice than Denise Levertov’s.