From a letter to the NYT Book Review, in the March 8th issue, from poet F.D. Reeve (responding to David Orr's essay of previous week, on poetic "greatness"):
"Greatness isn't the problem; irresponsibility is. The avaricious banker's greed is matched by the self-centered poet's solipsism. Neither cares about the social context; neither even conceives that success depends on the aptness of the work's social function and a discipline's formal power. From reading a book of poems we should have an idea of the basic nature of a society and its culture. Ignorant of and indifferent to their useful roles, however, the banker grabs all the bonuses possible and the poet concocts endless, irrelevant lyrics. Bankers who value this conventional poetry contribute to the foundations that support it, and poets who want to be published provide the material. Now, perhaps, if enough banks fall and enough publishing comglomerates collapse, we'll discover our oddballs, our different voices, our adequate innovators, who, like Dickinson, like Melville, like Whitman in their time, have been invisible in ours."