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ADRIENNE RICH on the Political Power of Poetry and Its Role in the Immigrant Experience

One summer evening not long ago, on a rainy Brooklyn rooftop, a friend — a brilliant friend who studies the cosmos and writes uncommonly poetic novels — stunned me with an improbable, deceptively simple yet enormous question: “What does poetry do?”

I fumbled for Baldwin: “The poets [are] the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets.” And then I mumbled something about how poetry gives shape to our experiences through language, thus conferring validity and dignity upon them, enlarging our access to our own humanity. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE

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