What the NEA really funds. + what happens when the big cat turns around.

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Quick note: last week I put up a link to an article arguing for the abolishment of the NEA.   The author, George F. Will, had interesting arguments, including that the NEA primarily only helps the already-privileged.  After speaking with a Connecticut-based artist-friend who received one of their grants under the stipulation that she perform arts-related community service in return & who spoke passionately & positively about the organization, I looked up what the NEA  funded in CT from 2015-2017. (One can use this page to find what else they’ve funded in every state.) 

In my state, at least, which contains both rich and poverty-stricken areas, the NEA has given a large amount lot of grants that benefit public schools, public work, and public art.  The bulk of the money, according to Wendy Bury, the executive director of the Southeastern Cultural Coalition, (Connecticut’s Grassroots Arts Organizations Count The Cost Of Threatened Federal Cut – Harriet Jones – NPR – 3/23/17) goes to  “community, grassroots organizations doing really important work in the communities, mostly in underserved, in some of the rural areas…”

If you want to test this out, do a search for what the NEA has funded in your own state, and judge for yourself how much good the grants do or do not do.


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After Dylan’s Nobel, What Makes a Poet a Poet? – David Orr – New York Times – 3/24/17

This article mentions the way that poets often appropriate song lyrics, using the example of when “Donald Hall includes the lyrics to five Beatles songs in his anthology ‘The Pleasures of Poetry’ (1971).” (The last section of the book contains + is labeled “Five Lyrics by the Beatles.”)

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In his NY Times piece, David Orr writes:

“Culture is less a series of peaceable, adjacent neighborhoods, each inhabited by different art forms, than a jungle in which various animals claim whatever territory is there for the taking. It’s possible that poets can trail along foxlike behind the massive tiger of popular music, occasionally plucking a few choice hairs from its coat both to demonstrate their superiority and to make themselves look a bit tigerish. With Dylan’s Nobel, we saw what happens when the big cat turns around.”

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