Why do we read and write poetry? (Dead Poets Society)






Is a Keynote by Next Week Possible? Find Out How.


Dead Poets Society is a wonderful film, obviously filled with a lot of references to English and American poetry. In this scene, John Keating (Robin Williams) teaches his pupils the reason for reading and writing poetry, quoting Whitman’s Leaves of Grass:

O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.