TIME Magazine, June 2, 1967
I was--what?--both amused and appalled by the near dismissal of poetry in the current (June 18, 2007) issue of TIME magazine.
Read the article, here:
Forty years ago (not quite to the day) Robert Lowell was on the cover of TIME, featured in a lengthy article on the state of American poetry. Here is the eloquent opening paragraph:
"In a scene that draws forever the line between the poet and the square, Hamlet, prince and poet, converses with the busy bureaucrat Polonius:
Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: Tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet: Or like a whale.
Polonius: Very like a whale.
Poets, their heads being in the clouds, are those who see whales and camels where others see only a chance of rain. That is why poets will always be more important than meteorologists. Poetry is a great imponderable, since it describes and changes the climate of the mind. It is a touchstone by which the spiritual condition of man may be tested."
Here is a link to the entire article:
I may be wrong about this---forty years is a long time and I wasn't standing watch for most of it--but I don't recall reading as much about poetry--or seeing it as seriously considered--in any major American news magazine in the forty years since.
In the meantime, Paris Hilton and American Idol are everywhere in the press.
Perhaps it is journalism and not poetry that has failed.