From the Winter, 1996 issue of Touchstone
The Century of the Cyclops by Steven Faulkner

The Century of the Cyclops

On the Loss of Poetry as Necessary Knowledge

by Steven Faulkner

Someone recently won a $75,000 poetry prize. I don’t recall the poet’s name. The sponsors of the prize thought that big bucks would help revive interest in poetry. The winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for $25,000, Charles Wright, admitted that this country’s interest in poetry is in something of a free fall, but he hoped these large prizes would arrest that fall. I doubt it will help.

Who reads modern poetry? A reporter for National Public Radio interviewed another poet who said that people may no longer know why “The woods—are lovely, dark and deep,” but they do understand the money message. If someone forks out 75 big ones for poems, poems must be valuable property.

These are cries of d . . .


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