JFK on the Sunday Science Poem

Well, not just the Sunday Science Poem. I suppose his remarks could be construed to be about poetry, more generally, and about Robert Frost, more specifically (as the remarks were made in honor of Robert Frost’s passing earlier in 1963):

At bottom, he held a deep faith in the spirit of man, and it is hardly an accident that Robert Frost coupled poetry and power, for he saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.
President John F Kennedy, Remarks at Amherst College, 26 October 1963

*Hat tip to Greg Proops on The Smartest Man in the World Podcast.

Author: Josh Witten


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