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Joan Shelley Rubin

Favorite Poems: Intellectual History Edition

In the coda to her wonderful study, Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America (Harvard, 2007) Joan Shelley Rubin considers what the responses to Robert Pinsky’s “Favorite Poem Project” suggest about how poetry is (still) useful and meaningful for Americans today.  Many of the poems readers submitted were works they had first encountered in a school setting, and they were texts to which the readers had returned throughout their lives.  Though the texts remained, the meaning for the reader might have changed — or, put another way, the reader might have given new meaning to a familiar text.  Read more