Episode 20 The Place of Poetry in Reviving the Wasteland (Inner and Outer)

Doug is joined by poet and teacher Will Justice Drake for a discussion of the place of poetry in preserving the human and renewing our lives and communities.

Starting with Walker Percy’s analysis of the loss of language and viable selfhood, we consider the fundamental difference between true poetry and common language. How does poetry resist the devaluation of words and the evacuation of things (including people)? How is it a form of resistance to the disorder of the age?

Most important, we consider how the recovery of language through poetry can spark a renewal of our selves and the possibility of communion. We have poetry from Dickinson, Stevens, and Eliot scattered throughout, but our centerpiece is “Summer Storm (Circa 1916), and God’s Grace” from Robert Penn Warren’s book Promises.

Show notes and further reading:

Robert Penn Warren, “Summer Storm (Circa 1916), and God’s Grace”

RPW Summer Storm

I recommend buying the Selected Poems of Robert Penn Warren.

“The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens, as it appeared in Poetry:

Emily Dickinson’s poem traditionally numbered 1129:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

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