Tony Hoagland, wise and witty and always provocative, raises some important questions about education and poetry in this article from Harper’s magazine. The Foundation’s Poets in Schools program takes on this challenge. Read on….

Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America

Imagining a renewed role for poetry in the national discourse — and a new canon

By Tony Hoagland

What went wrong? Somehow, we blew it. We never quite got poetry inside the American school system, and thus, never quite inside the culture. Many brave people have tried, tried for decades, are surely still trying. The most recent watermark of their success was the introduction of Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg and some e.e. cummings, of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “In a Station of the Metro” — this last poem ponderously explained, but at least clean and classical, as quick as an inoculation. It isn’t really fair to blame contemporary indifference to poetry on “Emperor of Ice-Cream.” Nor is it fair to blame Wallace Stevens himself, who also left us, after all, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” a poem that will continue to electrify and intrigue far more curious young minds than are anesthe