There is no question mark in the title of this wonderful, provocative book: Why Poetry. And for good reason. According to Matthew Zapruder poetry not only plays a unique -- dare I say (my word) magical -- purpose in human culture but also in our individual human journeys through life by being "usefully useless"! In one of my favorite passages in the book, Zapruder describes a poets' job as "refusing to do what others find useful." Poetry is an antidote to our modern scientific materialistic culture that has become unbalanced: obsessed as it is with efficiency, reason, certainty, productivity, accomplishment, control and action. Poetry has always been a reliable source of frustration and bafflement for me. Thanks to this lovely book, I appreciate how the inherent mystery of poetry is not a bug but an abiding, important feature of this vital art form. ~ Reviewed by Sam Baker
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