Friday, February 3, 2012


"A work of art offers a paradoxical liberation: it is something that changes everything while being perfectly useless in any ordinary sense. I suppose some people collect paintings because they think their value will increase in ten years or a hundred years, or because owning a certain object conveys social status. Thorstein Veblen’s conspicuous consumption is patently real. But I think poetry, as an art form, proves that cannot be the whole story—no one gains social status from knowing or “owning” a poem. Art’s role in the contemporary world may well be precisely to be un-useful, to reveal the importance of uselessness in our lives."

—Jane Hirshfield (from an essay in the February issue of Poetry)

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