Why Read Poetry? Because It Can Make You More Empathetic

Share Tweet Submit Pin One upon a time, people did not have to ask the question, “Why poetry?” Poetry required no apologia, no formal training, no elitist ivory tower education. Poetry simply was . It was read, recited, written; taught, learned, remembered. All without fanfare or leeches or ceremonies with strange men in carnival masks and opera cloaks like those dudes in that one Stanley Kubrick film. That was a long time ago, in places like Greece and Ireland. In the contemporary U.S., we not only have to ask this question, but to answer it repeatedly and in book-length fashion. The man answering this question at the moment is Matthew Zapruder in a new book, Why Poetry . Zapruder and I have a few things in common, almost none of which are stylistic and none of which we’ve ever discussed. We both took Russian in quite possibly the same dingy corner of UC Berkeley’s Dwinelle Hall. We both spent a lot of time contemplating the “Called Back” inscription on Emily Dickinson’s grave marker in Amherst, Massachusetts . We both grew up with attorney fathers who were likely to nod off during readings, and who were prideful (and doubtful) over […]

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