Glenn McNatt's wrong


poetry is alive and wellI am sorry...

December 20, 1997

Glenn McNatt's wrong; poetry is alive and well

I am sorry that, for Glen McNatt, poetry is dead.

We will always be moved by words, and it doesn't matter if they were spoken five minutes ago or 4,000 years ago.

It doesn't matter very much whether they are spoken live in a room with us, heard through a speaker, or read from a cathode-ray tube or in a book. We long to hear words that give expression to what is intimate and solitary, beautiful and wise, because we long for meaning that connects us to our contemporaries, the generations before and after us and to the natural universe.

As Robert Bly has said, "Poetry is inside talking to inside." It is the most intimate history, the music of being expressed in language and form. When we feel poetry within us, or when we hear it enter us from without, for a while, there is communion.

Poetry contains much of the most beautiful and wisest words we have said to one another.

It is on the tongue, in the book, on the record, disk, tube and tape because it is within us and inherent in the language that we speak.

If Mr. McNatt and his readers feel the lack of it, my suggestion is that they get on with the search; look inside themselves; listen carefully, poetry is always there.

Michael Fallon


The writer is the founding editor of Maryland Poetry Review and an instructor of creative writing at UMBC.

Poetry is not dead. Just ask my third-grade student who told me (in response to a homework assignment) ". . . after reading Christmas stories in the library, I decided I want to write a poem instead."

As she read me her poem, I instantly thought of my grandmother, who is a writer herself. I asked my student if I could share this poem with my grandmother and through her toothy third-grade smile she replied, "Yes, you may." As I suspected, my grandmother loved it, for she, too, recognized this child's love for the language, as evidenced in such phrases as ". . . I pray for those who have not got for blessings that I think of not."

While hers was not a poem whose "publication will impact on the cultural life of the nation" which Mr. McNatt would have you believe is the only real mark of good poetry, it did inspire a phone call to my grandmother and my first "letter to the editor."

3' No, Mr. McNatt, poetry is not dead.

Kris Reynolds


Hydrogen fuel is false solution

The conference in Japan on global warming has focused attention on our growing dependence on carbon-based fossil fuels, the result of which is increased accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Sun Journal article Dec. 9 paints a rosy picture of the prospect of hydrogen fuel as a replacement for these fossil fuels.

It sounds almost too good to be true. Here you have a boundless supply of clean burning fuel that, when burned, releases energy and produces only harmless water vapor in the atmosphere. Voila, no more global warming!

Unfortunately, there is no free lunch. Hydrogen is not available to us as a natural resource (like coal or petroleum). It is, rather, a manufactured commodity that requires electric power to release from the principal source, water.

This point is noted in passing in The Sun article. But what is not stated is that the energy required to produce a pound of hydrogen is greater than the energy it releases on combination.

And where does this energy come from? Why, from the evil fossil fuels being burned back at the power plant that are thus producing more carbon dioxide than was eliminated by the use of the hydrogen fuel.


Is there a solution? You bet. It's called nuclear power.

Fred Gornick


The writer is professor emeritus of chemistry at UMBC.

Dual ironies in political slogans

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke: "Baltimore, the city that reads."

Gov. Parris Glendening: "The education governor."

Political sloganeering is such fun, isn't it?

I'll say this: Incongruity never had a better home than in the state of Maryland, do you think?

William F. Lickle Jr.


Privacy sale violates rights

Why is it that we continually have to fight for our right to privacy?

First it was the Motor Vehicle Administration, now Bell Atlantic wants to give out (rather, sell) our name and address to whoever wants it. Only non-published numbers (which Bell Atlantic charges for) would be excluded.

If you have an unlisted number, the information would still be available through CALL54. Anyone with your phone number could call the automated service and hear your name and address (for a per-use fee).

I realize there are already many ways for people to get personal information about us, but do we have to make it so easy?

According to the Public Services Commission of Maryland, it's ,, not a done deal yet and it is taking phone calls and letters from the public on this matter. Apparently, it already has a long log of complaints.

If I wanted someone to have my address, I would give it to him. I don't need the MVA, Bell Atlantic, or any other third party giving it out without my knowledge.

What I need Bell Atlantic to do is what I pay it for -- provide me with phone service, that's all.

Linda Holt


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