In Can Poetry Matter: Essays on Poetry and American Culture, Dana Gioia included an article on business and poetry. His focus was on the odd fact that many poets who worked in business, some their entire working lives, wrote virtually nothing in their poetry about their business or anything related to it. This includes poets like T.S. Eliot (Bank of England), Wallace Stevens (Hartford Insurance) and Ted Kooser (Liberty Financial Insurance). (Farmers, like Robert Frost and Wendell Berry, are a different matter.)
The conventional wisdom, Gioia says, and especially the conventional American wisdom, is that poets “must be people out of the ordinary; they must be strong, even eccentric individuals.” In other words, Walt Whitman fits our preconceived notions; Wallace Stevens, corporate lawyer, does not.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.
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