A few days ago, I inserted Lucille Clifton’s “The Lost Baby Poem.” In graduate school, a professor passed around copies of this poem at the beginning of one workshop. We all sat there, silently, and then a friend of mine began to cry, tears streaming down her face, soundlessly.
My professor cleared his throat and said sadly, Nothing said about this poem is enough said.
My house of females has a lot of talking, but sometimes I remind my daughters that silence can be just as mighty, the absence of words as powerful – for good or ill – as speaking or writing. That sometimes enough is really enough.
To underestimate the appeal of art is to underestimate not only poetry but also human nature. Our hunger for myth, story, and design is very deep…. If we are not in love with poems, the problem may be that we are not teaching the right poems. Yet ignorance of and wariness about art gets passed on virally, from teacher to student. After a few generations of such exile, poetry will come to be viewed as a stuffy neighborhood of large houses with locked doors, where no one wants to spend any time.
–– Tony Hoagland