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The Library of Congress > Poetry & Literature > Poet Laureate Projects > Poetry for the Mind's Joy > Winning Poem: In Defense of Poetry
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This poem was submitted for the "Poetry for the Mind's Joy" project and is reproduced here with permission from the author. All rights reserved. Poetry for the Mind's Joy is Poet Laureate Kay Ryan's project that includes a community college poetry contest administered by the Community College Humanities Association and a lively videoconference.

It will not get you a job.
You will not be able to trade your poetry for bread.
No one will pay you to catch the tears of those with muted voice.

It will not get you a job to know
the sound a belly makes on the “other”
continent at the instant it touches spine,

to know the voice of the granddaughter—first in family
to go to college, whose husk worn hands strip pages
clean, and wear the soil of protest under fingernail.

There are things in this world worth fighting for.
There are things in this world that mean something,
and they will not get you a job.

Cosumnes River College, Los Rios Community College District, Sacramento, CA
Faculty Contact: Lisa Dominguez Abraham/Heather Hutcheson, Department of English