Friday, October 21, 2011

Ted Kooser on Too Many Poets

"A noted contemporary poet and critic has said we ought to keep poetry a secret from the masses. Another, the editor of a prestigious anthology of poetry, said that each nation ought to have no more than a handful of poets. Both sound pretty elitist, don't they? Well, we'll always have among us those who think the best should be reserved for the few. Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there's a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you're writing your poem,there's one less less scoundrel in the world. And I'd like a world, wouldn't you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I'm certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don't think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say "We loved the earth but could not stay." (5) - Ted Kooser from The Poetry Home-Repair Manual


  1. Hello Chris,

    I'm a fellow Ontarian (born around your neck of the woods, Kitchener). Anyways, I've been reading this book by Kooser and I was searching for more information on this particular quote when I came across your post here. Do you happen to have any idea as to the identity of the two individuals referenced here?

  2. Hi Mark,

    Not sure who Kooser is talking about except to say the quote echoes a widespread presumption. I'm glad you are enjoying Kooser. He is terrific.