In Defense of Poetry: “Oh My Heart”

This week, we visit P.L. Thomas’ excellent site “The Becoming Radical.

In this post, Thomas discusses the need for poetry in education, and how poetry and fiction seem to be falling by the wayside in favor of testing scores needed to justify school funding.

The testing requirements alone are evil, but the cutting out of poetry from the curriculum is a travesty. Poetry is an essential to education as well as life. But I’ll shut up about it because Thomas puts it far better than I can.

In Defense of Poetry: “Oh My Heart”

radical eyes for equity

“No, no. You’ve got something the test and machines will never be able to measure: you’re artistic. That’s one of the tragedies of our times, that no machine has ever been built that can recognize that quality, appreciate it, foster it, sympathize with it.”

Paul Proteus to his wife Anita in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano

“So much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens” is, essentially, a grammatical sentence in the English language. While the syntax is somewhat out of the norm, the diction is accessible to small children—the hardest word likely being “depends.” But “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams is much more than a sentence; it is a poem:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

A relatively simple English language sentence shaped into purposeful lines and stanzas becomes poetry. And like…

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