Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Maybe …

Can Poetry Change Your Life? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
But how are poems and pop songs “equipment for life”? Here the balance pole begins to wobble. “There is no limit to what a poem can’t do,” Robbins writes on one page; “poetry makes all sorts of things happen,” he says on the next. Which is it? He doesn’t want to give in to the fantasy that poems taught to and songs bought by millions of people are also subversive of the established order. But his own politics are Occupy-era politics, and he naturally wants to put his views together with his tastes. The teen-ager’s enthusiasm for Def Leppard must in some way belong with the mature man’s concerns about income inequality.
From time to time, I will listen to a favorite pop song from long ago, much the way I will look at an old photograph. It's a bittersweet experience. But I am not inclined to exaggerate the importance of pop songs. Poems, though,  have had a powerful effect on me I can still remember reading Eliot's "Preludes" on a rainy fall afternoon on the El many years ago. I saw the poetry of the city as I never had before.

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