If you are like me, to learn of the gods you must
beg, borrow, or steal. Eavesdrop, as gossip
is sagacity, a word I learned from Emily
Dickinson. Don’t underestimate direct
experience. Ants know earth. Dragonflies
know air. A cobbled mind is not fatal.
You have to be willing to self-educate
at a moment’s notice, and to be caught
in your ignorance by people who will
use it against you. You will mispronounce
words in front of a crowd. It cannot be
avoided. But your poems, with all of their
deficiencies, products of lifelong observation
and asymmetric knowledge, will be your own.
—from “My Education”
In poems of rangy curiosity, sharp humor, and illuminating self-scrutiny, Modern Poetry investigates our time’s deep isolation and divisiveness and asks: What can poetry be now? Do poems still have the capacity to mean? “It seems wrong / to curl now within the confines / of a poem,” Seuss writes. “You can’t hide / from what you made / inside what you made.” What she finds there, finally, is a surprising but unmistakable love.