Speaking this past fall at a colloquium on nuclear power at the University of Rhode Island, social critic Robert Jay Lifton bluntly insisted that in such discussions, one should not talk about "nuclear arms proliferation" or "weapons limitations," and so forth, but one should talk about The End — that, he said, is the only issue: try to imagine the end of the world as we know it. This has surely been the supreme political fact since 1945. Yet Poetry, one of the better journals for measuring poetic activity on the American scene, printed for the year 1961, 335 poems by 139 different poets; however these contained only two explicit references to the bomb. Hayden Carruth chose 1961 to make his survey because that happened to be the year for which he had a complete set of Poetry on hand, but there is no reason to think that it was an atypical year (356).



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