Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Use of Poetry

[Hayden Carruth, Vermont's Poet Laureate; photo by Ted Rosenberg]
Here on the wall at Kingdom Books we have a spectacular Sam Hamill/Copper Canyon broadside (not for sale!) of a Hayden Carruth poem, splashed in red with Chinese characters. I quote the poem in English here:

Why speak of the use
of poetry? Poetry
is what uses us.

Good. Satisfying.

But just today I connected with the following, from the first National Poet of Wales (2005-2006), Gwyneth Lewis, who was asked to respond to C. P. Snow's famous "Two Cultures" lecture that decried the enormous divide between the Sciences and the Arts. Lewis' response is a poem, and she's asked us not to print it in full here, but my favorite line (and I wish I could see it with the original line breaks) reads:

Here’s to speech that costs the speaker. Here’s to formulae that rhyme like trialets; to poems that calculate nought to the power of infinity.

Please do explore her web site:

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