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The state of poetry in America today


Vachel Lindsay's poem Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan
Richard Wilbur Poet
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The special thing about Vachel Lindsay's wonderful poem, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan is that it's not Lindsay himself here and now at the time of writing spouting out of indignation, idealism or what not, it's Lindsay recording and recreating beautifully the high-minded, romantic, idealistic political feelings of young kids of 14 or 15 that qualifies everything that is said in Lindsay's poem. At the same time, nobody who reads Lindsay's poem could take it for an endorsement of the eastern capitalists with dollar signs upon their vests and spats on their feet. We know where he stood.

Acclaimed US poet Richard Wilbur (1921-2017) published many books and was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He was less well known for creating a musical version of Voltaire's “Candide” with Bernstein and Hellman which is still produced throughout the world today.

Listeners: David Sofield

David Sofield is the Samuel Williston Professor of English at Amherst College, where he has taught the reading and writing of poetry since 1965. He is the co-editor and a contributor to Under Criticism (1998) and the author of a book of poems, Light Disguise (2003).

Tags: Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Bryan, Vachel Lindsay

Duration: 1 minute, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008