I am lapsing momentarily away from my essay to post a few things I've been considering.
I got this line from my good friend Tara O'Connor this morning in reaction to the essay - "I have to admit I am part of the group that was taught to read into poetry for meaning, not to read it on an emotional level." I think this has reached crisis proportions in America. I am putting a call out to all poets to reverse the trend. Let's start in the lower grades to teach children to read poetry for fun, emotion, and beauty. I actually "taught" myself to read poetry at age 20. I found that this was the key to doing it. Once I learned the payback was immeasurable.
One night I was laying in bed, depressed (as usual) about my faults. A line from Mary Oliver seeped into my head "You do not have to be good." Sometimes looking at my son, I think of Kinnell's poems about his children. My life would be so less rich without these poems to refer back to.
Andrea Baker (I hope it's not a secret) is starting a program at her son's school where poetry isn't just read as poetry - it's intregrated into daily studies and daily life. This a very Russian approach - and very crucial. I want to do something simuliar at my own son's school. Poets - by nature - are so exclusionary. They want to exclude the world and each other. They want to devide- I'm this school, you're that - they want to be cooly oblique and purposefully difficult. I am calling all poets to start including!