Monday, April 17, 2006

Dammit to hell!

As the Kettle told us last week, April is Poetry Month. Although not a big fan of poetry (since most people today who consider themselves poets merely put a bunch of jibberish on a page, call it art and say it has meaning) and more a fan of this guy's suggestion for an Anti-Poetry Month (although for completely different reasons), I must agree with U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval's decision in the following case (from the New York Lawyer):

A federal judge gave a ninth-grader permission Thursday to recite a poem at a state competition that his school objected to, claiming it contained profanity.

The words "hell" and "damn" in W.H. Auden's "The More Loving One," do not constitute offensive language that could disrupt the school's educational priorities, said U.S. District Judge Brian Sandoval.

He issued a temporary restraining order sought by Jacob Behymer-Smith, 14, after school administrators at the Coral Academy of Science told him he could not use the poem in future competitions.

The teen intends to recite it April 22 during Poetry Out Loud, a contest sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

In granting the injunction, Sandoval said there was "a total absence of any evidence" that the school's prohibition was legal under the U.S. Constitution and that the teen likely would be able to prove his First Amendment rights were being violated.

Thankfully young Jacob didn't just say "to hell with this damn poetry!" and move on to short stories. He stood and fought for his poem! Good luck in the competition, Jacob.

What sayeth the Kettle?

FIGHT THE POWER, YOUNG JACOB. FIGHT IT. Here is his poem and it is wonderful. On a similar note, at school Mrs. Olive (not her real name, but wouldn't it be great if it was!) wanted to read an Auden poem at Morning Meeting, but annoying Mr. K. derailed her. Long story. Her poem, here, is divine. You might remember it from Four Weddings and a Funeral. If you don't remember the poem, that was probably because you were weeping. A lot.

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