I probably enjoy the works of Percy Shelley as much as anyone, but his “poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world” statement has caused poets to overrate their political influence ever since. I say this as a letter in the pages of Vanity Fair used the comment as justification for Sam Hamill and other poets refusing to take place in an event that Laura Bush was putting together. The difference it has made to opinion in this country? Squat. Who knows, had Adrienne Rich attended the luncheon with Laura Bush, she may have been able to say something that stayed with her. Her open letter of refusal achieved nothing.