Michael Simms: The Very American Poetry of Jose Padua

Vox Populi

What are poets for in destitute times? — Hölderlin

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Every poem is a subversive act.

In an age when our senses are benumbed by competing media screaming for our attention, the radical quietism of a well-made poem is in itself revolutionary. Sitting quietly and listening to a person share his or her most important experiences expressed in a coherent form goes against our entire twenty-first century Western culture. Poetry is the only antidote for the insanity of post-modern life. This is the reason why poets have been in the vanguard of the contemporary progressive movement and also the reason why poetry’s small audience must be nurtured and expanded.

It is very difficult for a contemporary American to sit still and listen to a poem because the experience requires patient attentiveness to another person’s feelings. Having few chances to practice this kind of empathy, we are simply not very good at…

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