W. H. Auden, the great British poet, is famous for many things, including being the poet who claimed that poetry makes nothing happen. I have seen way too many people take that infamous line -- which appears in his lovely elegy to William Butler Yeats -- out of context. I have also seen way too many people quote that line with way too much glee; seeing it as an official verification of lameness, a poet waiving poetry's white flag. I'm pretty sure Auden had something other than the inefficacy of poetry in mind there . . .
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