In the poems discussed in chapter 12, the poets’ primary attention was to the failings of society. Richard Wright and Mari Evans dealt with the unhappy history of blacks in America; Kenneth Rexroth with the oppression of the poor; D. H. Lawrence with the moral and emotional failures of the bourgeois male. In each instance, as we saw, a set of positive values suggested the need for social reform. These values, in turn, rest upon fundamental notions about the world that belong to the realm of philosophy. Kenneth Rexroth, for example, conveys his anger at the poverty and stunted lives he has witnessed and vows to fight exploitation. The philosophical notion that underlies his protest is that of the worth, dignity, and equality of individual human beings.
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