In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 7, 2011 / 8 Elul, 5771

Of Poets Good, Bad and In-Between

By Paul Greenberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The United States of America has a new poet laureate.

The United States of America being the United States of America, who cares?

For democracy is the death of poetry and often enough of poets, who may be reduced to penury if they're any good. Though bad ones can thrive, or at least get a job with Hallmark.

Wallace Stevens, who was very good, was just as prudent. He knew enough to hold on to his day job as a successful insurance executive in Hartford. The T.S. Eliots and Robert Frosts had to go to England, where Frost wrote some of the finest American poems of his century, to win recognition. Just as American painters once adjourned to Paris. We don't much recognize our own.

Yes, a Whitmanesque songteller may arise from time to time here at home, like a Carl Sandburg writing love letters to the "Hog Butcher for the World,/ Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,/ Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler,/ Stormy, husky, brawling,/ City of the Big Shoulders...."

But much as we homers love the effect and affect of our prairie bards, this kind of thing tends to be more sentimental than poetic.

And we still produce the kind of assembly-line poets whose syndicated work used to appear in newspapers (The Poet's Corner) and so ruined the art for generations of kids growing up on the morning paper.

But poetry, the real thing, and not just everything and anything that goes by the name, must be selective. Like the soul. (The soul selects her own society,/ Then shuts the door . . . --Emily Dickinson)

What de Tocqueville said of painting applies to poetry, too, when it comes to Democracy in America: "In aristocracies a few great pictures are produced; in democratic countries, a vast number of insignificant ones."

Tyranny, on the other hand, can be the health of poetry. See Russia, if you can bear to look. In the days when czars and commissars ruled with an iron hand, writers were a kind of second government -- an outlet for all the art and freedom stifled by the regime.

As long as Stalin and his heirs ruled, manuscripts were passed from hand to hand like a secret treasure, which they were. But when the thaw finally came, Russian writers lost their urgency and intensity and audience. There was no longer a pressing need for it. Freedom will do that; it takes the edge off poetry of the political kind.

Which is why the announcement of a new poet laureate in America, however good or bad or in-between, is greeted mainly by a yawn in this country, if it be greeted at all. The business of America remains business. (Coolidge, Calvin.)

Yes, some do know who the new poet laureate is -- the other members of the guild, the always dwindling audience for poetry in a democratic society, the hopelessly retentive, maybe even a newspaper columnist who's sick of politics for a day, but still notices how politic the selection of an American poet laureate is.

Occasionally a real poet will be the laureate -- an Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur or a Joseph Brodsky -- but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. For politics tends to be the death of poetry.

And how artificial, how imported, the title sounds: American poet laureate. Much like our own version of the queen's honors list -- the Medal of Freedom. Its recipients, too, are duly named every year. There is something foreign about all such titles of nobility. Much like those shakoes Richard Nixon, with his impeccably bad taste, wanted to put on the White House guard.

The newest poet laureate is Philip Levine, who's been styled the workingman's poet. Professor Levine's early poems about his grimy Detroit years resound with a righteous rage, his later ones with tenderness. Love and age can have that mellowing effect. What is gained in life is lost in art.

The choice of Philip Levine as our new poet laureate shows a nice sense of balance when you consider all those he succeeds, including the easily understandable ("accessible" is the trade term) Billy Collins.

From sweet to tart, it's a nice change of pace and taste.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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