“You don’t live if there’s no poetry: you don’t live
at all, or if you appear to yourself to be living, you’re not.
You really are living, though, even if you’re dead,
because you do have poetry, poetry’s with you
whether or not you know it…”

Great Silent Ballad, lyric poet A.F. Moritz’s twenty-second volume of poetry, in visionary terms, forwards the assertion that poetry, a primordial reality, is in the current moment both the equal of, and the antidote to, the rest of present-day civilization and its suicidal nature.

The book unfolds in seven short sections that probe such topics as the crucial value of childhood; a human person’s development through maturity and age; the perennially avant-garde nature of great poetry no matter what time and place; and poetry’s inherent involvement with hope and creativity, life and feeling, freedom and love. Great Silent Ballad also reprises Moritz’s longstanding celebration of common human conversation, the apex of which (he argues convincingly) is what we call “poetry”—meaning not just the art of verse, but our total access to the goodness of natural existence.

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