Books: Away the Lifeboats!

Three poets prove the art hasn't gone down yet

If a poem is read aloud in a bookstore but no one is around to listen to it (because everyone is off sipping espresso in the cafe or skimming the latest shock-a-minute memoir), does it make a sound? This April--designated National Poetry Month by the Academy of American Poets--might be a good time to ponder that question. More admired in principle than in practice, more respected than read, American poetry has survived the '90s through a combination of benign neglect, accumulated goodwill and a devoted cult of readers who will still be on deck reciting favorite lines should the poetic Titanic...

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