A canon round for democracy: The literati’s power in a populist era is limited, but vital

New York Public Library (Credit: Getty/Theo Wargo)

Poetry makes nothing happen.— W.H. Auden, 1939

. . . even the millionth tragedywent uncelebrated the day

the world was born. No cake.No sacred confetti . . .

— “At Last,” Erin Belieu, founder of Writers Resist

When Auden made one of the most disputed literary claims of the century, a claim as misconstrued as it is quoted (and often misattributed to Pound), it was after facing censure from erstwhile Marxist groupies for not...

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