I went to a lecture and reading tonight by Dana Gioia, the poet and chairman of the NEA. I like his work -- he uses plain language. The event was at the Ransom Center at U.T., and the audience seemed to be mostly academics a little older than me, or people who run with that crowd. Sort of a high-brow, literary crowd is what I'm trying to say.
He spoke for about half an hour, then he read a few of his poems, along with a little Longfellow and a little Auden. The title of his talk was "Poetry as Enchantment," I think, or, if that wasn't the title, it was his thesis. He made the case that poems, by using language in a specialized way that interacts with us as whole beings, have the power to cast spells. That poetry literally has the power to change us.
That these people needed to be told this was worrisome to me.