To Endure

I first heard this quote on Sunday in between performances by Shakira and Bon Jovi. Forrest Whittaker read this from William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Not bad. The whole speech is great, but after reading it, Forrest picked the right line. It obviously hints at the power of poetry of many kinds (the music at the concert, the oratory two days later), but for me it sums up the only plausible explanation I can come up for for writing as a career.

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