From time to time I find a poem that would be a perfect college essay, as is.
Read it, and weep. William Stafford’s “A Ritual to Read to Each Other,” guts me word by word. I want to help my students make their college essays this pointed and distilled.
So let’s study this guy, a master of his form; he knows word economy. His poem unsettles. Good– who wants to settle? That’s for pre-Trump era folks.
He is a badass** writer, somehow direct but also circumspect: “Lest our mutual life get lost in the dark.” How is that for Twitter-able accuracy?
As a side note, I would also feel really cool if one of my students wrote something this devastating and accurate. (Which, by the way, they sometimes do, just that most of them aren’t famous for it yet.)
These lines have haunted me for years. They could not be more relevant.
As a buzzkill and injunction to BE WOKE, I’ll post Stafford’s last lines.
But you’re best served by reading the whole poem aloud, again and again. Better if you can read it to somebody. Maybe somebody who, like the rest of us, needs to WAKE UP ALREADY.