The best argument for teaching poetry is to put a three-year-old or a four-year-old and read Dr. Seuss, or Robert Louis Stevenson, and to feel how the child and you are engaging in something that’s really basic to the animal, which is passing on in these rhythmic ways, something that came from somewhere. 

And it’s from the old ones to the new ones.  It’s from the past and you know my kid or grandkid is going to pretty certainly be alive when I’m gone.  And I’m reading Robert Louis Stevenson, you know, or Dr. Seuss, who are gone who are older than me.  And that’s what education is. It’s a Latin word that means to lead out.  And you’re leading the three-year-old or four-year-old out into what the old ones can do.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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