One evening this fall, two young activists walked through the bright, modern library of the new Poetry Foundation headquarters and marched up to the glass balcony. Some 30 attendees had gathered that evening in Chicago to hear a free poetry reading, and now many turned to view long, hand-painted banners unfurling from the second floor. With solemn fanfare, the two men, members of a small rebel alliance called the Croatoan Poetic Cell, had launched their latest defense of poetry — shortly before someone at the foundation called the police.
“What would have happened,” asked one banner, “if Emily Dickinson had been prescribed Prozac?” Idle speculation aside — one pictures long, glazed-over afternoons spent knitting frocks in New England — the protesters were implying that Prozac stymies creativity, and that the Poetry Foundation, lavishly funded by a pharmaceutical fortune, does business with the kind of people who might, given the…
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