Bring Back the Poets
by Andrew Swensen
Poetry. We seem to view poetry nowadays as if it dwells singularly in the province of pretentious intellectuals, academic institutions, and (if we are lucky) the occasional 11th-grade English classroom. I find this development sad. For some reason we think that poetry is somehow inaccessible, a rarefied highbrow art form expressed in overwrought language. Yet if you think about the birth of the arts from back in the days when we were sleeping under the stars and keeping warm by open fires, we were also doing a couple of other things, practicing our most primal elements of culture: dance, song, some basic rhythms for music, and yes, speaking or chanting poetry to one another. Now we have arrived in the 21st century, and we seem to have neglected our origins under the open sky. Bring back the poets, I say.
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