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It's a privilege to be granted a chance tq address a gathering like this: a room full of people whose Quaker way of life and thought are so very central to their work that they spend time and resources to get together and talk about it. We've been blessed with a common gift, and it isn't a small one.

That said, I suspect I'm not the only one here who sometimes wonders how, or even if, what I do matters. Yet even among you, my group of fellow self-doubters, I must lobby for my own elevated position: as a poet and a teacher of poetry writing, I have the privilege of practicing the discipline most often used to exemplify the frivolous.

That I don't accept the characterization of poetry as frivolous· should go without saying, though sometimes in discussions I can do little more than bite my lip and try to recall the words of William Carlos Williams:


Originally published in Quakers and the Disciplines, Vol. 3, Ed. James Hood. Longmeadow, MA: Friends Association for Higher Education, 2016. Pp. 111-22

ISBN-10: 099600338X

ISBN-13: 978-0996003384