And yet what needs there here Excuse,
Where ev’ry Thing does answer Use?
Andrew Marvell wrote those lines long before anyone dreamed of the United States of America, but he could be asking the question of poetry itself in a land like America, where creative writers can be as careerist as bankers. Even in the arts, every American activity seems to have to excuse itself before the captains of industry with a manifest focus on practicality, utility and rapid reward. Unfortunately for poetry, it has no real excuse for existing — except the pursuit of truth and beauty. Read on at The Forward.