Give Me Your Poesy
I very much enjoyed Kevin D. Williamson’s essay on Emma Lazarus (“Wretched Refuse, Indeed,” August 28) and the way in which her famous poem, which had several opportunities to disappear, succeeded in newly branding the Statue of Liberty as representing the welcoming of poor and oppressed people.
I concur with all his main points — it’s close to doggerel. But as he notes, it remains affecting to many people. I see two reasons.
One, the poem is likely to conjure a cloud of sentiments that remind the reader of other types of mercy. For example, rescuing an orphan cat, …