Adam Sol has a wonderful guest post at Bookninja.com today regarding a recent article dragging Dionne Brand through the dirt as Poet Laureate of Toronto. Some hateful words on the part of Marni Soupcoff and some beautiful defense on the part of Sol. Indeed, you must read (this excerpt and then the rest of it):
Soupcoff caps off her tirade by suggesting that “people don’t look to government for clues about what entertainment to consume” and that “the only people who will pay attention to a poet laureate will be the already-engaged arts establishment types”. The philistine attitude that sees poetry as just another form of “entertainment” that the public “consumes” is just the kind of mountain of ignorance that Brand will be asked to confront with her massive $10,000/year paycheck.
At its best, poetry can change the way we understand our world, our culture, and our language. New York sees itself as a place open to “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free” because of poetry. It’s because of poetry that the poppy is recognized across this nation as an expression of our respect for the sacrifices of soldiers. We turn to poetry to give language to our deepest human confusion and yearning. We don’t read newspaper articles at funerals, at weddings, or major public ceremonies – we read poetry.
The entire article can be read here.