The power of Oppenheimer-wide destruction is in the hands of entitled men-children, cuddled runts, who aim not to enhance human communication, but to build themselves a digital substitute for physical contact with members of the species who were unlike them. And it should scare you.
uden’s “Refugee Blues,” written in March of 1939. “Came to a pu…ninety hours in the classroom this semester, and most of those hours are going to pass from memory. But I’m unlikely to ever forget the final five minutes of class on Tuesday, January 31 — a class that met in the wake of Trump’s first travel ban. I read aloud Auden’s “Refugee Blues,” written in March of 1939. “Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said: / ‘If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’; / He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.” I felt like the poem was speaking to us, directly and urgently, from a vantage point not so different from our own. Nothing about it was unclear. We let the words hang in the air; we silently exited the classroom.
Auden calls poetry “memorable speech” — and I think if politically minded poets are able to write poems that rise to that definition (no easy thing to do), then they can affect the culture, in the way Auden himself did. It’s not likely to happen, of course — but every once in a while a p…
…andidacy for president. It is an old photograph, of a then six-year-old Barron, taken on the beach. He is looking down at the ground ahead and waving goodbye to a professionally built sandcastle in the background.