Hum Essay

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Wilson Peacock is a writer and editor of articles about literature. In this essay, she discusses the role of the poet in times of national crises, focusing on Lauterbach's “Hum” and Robert Pinsky's “9/11.”

One of the poet's main responsibilities is to deliver us from clichés in moments when words threaten to fail us. “It is so hard to know what to say” is what so many do say when confronted with grieving friends or loved ones. Rare is the eulogy that does not include the words of a poet, be that poet contemporary or biblical, as part of ritual's salve. This phenomenon was writ large after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the United States cohered as a single community united by grief. The nation's poets, masters and novices alike, moved to the forefront during this time, their collectivity of words creating a liturgy like...

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This section contains 1,406 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Hum Study Guide
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