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« Wednesday: Swallows, Monarchs, and More Wisdom from Wystan [by Ernest Hilbert] | Main | Chapter X: In which I publish a poem in The New Yorker. [by Jennifer Michael Hecht] »

May 27, 2009


Thanks for this good piece of writing, Laura. Ambition is an insidious force in every society and affects us all. Without a sense of justice and a desire to protect one's dignity and the dignity of other
humans, all of us, whether we are politicians or poets, fail in the pursuit of our best humanity.

This is a brilliant exegesis of morality and ethics. The writer is ethical not because of (in spite of) his/her sexual habits but for a sense of purpose that we understand MUCH better/clearer from Laura's writing. This is a difficult subject because it is immersed in so many abstractions,but so well told and understood in this article by Orem.

Poets are not unacknowledged legislators, nor should they get diplomatic immunity. They are, as Laura states, humans who enjoy playing with words. It probably behooves all of us - poet, plumber, and poet-plumber, to learn kindness and pay attention.

There's a lot in this post to respond to and I agree with much of what you're saying Laura. Sometimes a person can be difficult, unlikeable, yet we tolerate their failings because there is compensation - for example, they are brilliant. I can think of many examples amongs artists and others but off the top of my head James Schuyler comes to mind as one with serious mental illness who did some scary things but who had enough wonderful qualities that his friends didn't abandon him. It gets dicey though when you put this person in a position of authority and influence (namely, in a classroom). That is where their failings should not be tolerated.

I'm not sure how, but the post I wrote above, "Poets are not unacknowledged legislators,..." is now ascribed to Grace Cavalieri. I am assuming the post below it now ascribed to me, "There's a lot...," is Grace's.

Steve Kronen

Never mind.... I just realized that names are at the bottom of each post, not the top. Please carry on....

Sheepishly yours,
Steve K

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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