The Flower That Splits the Rocks: What Poetry Has to Do With Everything

English: Passport photograph of American poet ...

English: Passport photograph of American poet and medical doctor William Carlos Williams. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.[21]

William Carlos Williams


About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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2 Responses to The Flower That Splits the Rocks: What Poetry Has to Do With Everything

  1. jef says:

    I have that particular ‘news from poems’ Wms quote pinned like a rare butterfly to the outside of my fabric-covered veal stall at work. I glance at it often on passing, just to remain tethered. It’s great to see it given hood ornament status here, Margaret. That other world that surrounds and penetrates this one (to borrow from Obi Wan/Lucas) gives us our everything, though even we boosters of same scarcely know it, I think. I know there is inexplicable privation and misery anywhere we care to look, but (and here comes Loathsome and Privileged First World Comfy Cuddle Talk) I do think a species of the Poetic Sense, were it to become pandemic, would sufficiently inform the Human Condition such that we would set to repairing The Error with an organic, steamrolling alacrity that would see much of the horror off. And, yeah, little kids have been beaten up by the swingset for repping stuff remotely like this.


    • I agree. Great poetry is the supreme salve and anodyne of a troubled distracted mind, I agree. And it’s so much more. It transports us out of the daily quagmire of the ordinary, lifts us up so we have an Olympian perspective and can see what is real, true and beautiful. That vision is redemptive and helps us live our lives with acceptance and joy. Granted, I have a radical, exalted opinion of of the power of poetry, and sadly poetry’s benefits are lost to most today. People don’t read, they skim. You can’t skim poetry. Read and re-read poetry. Savor it. You don’t gulp a truffle or a slice of New York cheesecake!


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