Good Poems for Hard Times
Editor Garrison Keillor

* Garrison Keillor's Introductory Essay. * Poets.

An anthology of 185 poems that have been read by Keillor on The Writer's Almanac radio program.

Introductory Essays to
Good Poems for Hard Times.

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Good Poems for Hard Times
Editor Garrison Keillor.

Good Poems for Hard Times begins with an introductory essay by editor Garrison Keillor. He gives one of the most useful definitions of the purpose of poetry that I've seen:

"The meaning of poetry is to give courage. A poem is not a puzzle that you the dutiful reader is obliged to solve. It is meant to poke you, get you to buck up, pay attention, rise and shine, look alive,
... wake up and die right.
... what really matters about poetry
... is the miracle of incantation in rendering the gravity and grave and beauty of the ordinary world and thereby lending courage to strangers. This is a necessary thing."

Keillor is explicit about what he means by calling the time that the USA is in, at the start of the third millennium, hard:

" America is in hard times these days, the beloved country awash to the scuppers in expensive trash, gripped by persistent jitters, politics even more divorced from reality than usual, the levers of power firmly held in the hands of a cadre of Christian pirates and bullies whose cynicism is stunning, especially their perversion of the gospel to blast the poor and the meek and subvert the tax system in favor of the rich, while public institutions are put in perpetual financial crisis
... what mustn't be lost in this dank time, is the passion of young people for truth and justice and liberty
... and when this spirit is betrayed by the timid and the greedy and the naive, then we must depend on the poets. American poetry is the truest journalism we have. What your life can be, lived bravely and independently, you can discover in poetry."

The point of this book was completely missed by a scathing review of in Poetry, by someone who seemed indignant about a collection of accessible poems. Thankfully, Keillor does not promote the inaccessible. On the contrary:

"The poems describe a common life. It is good to know about this. I hope you take courage from it."

Poets of
Good Poems for Hard Times.

Of the poets whose work is included, we have web pages on:

Among the most stunning poems are:

Links and Books.

Links and Books

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