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Muirhead brings home gold medal from Great American Think Off

"Yes, poetry matters. It matters because, at both the personal and universal level, it is the spiritual language of our one human family; it speaks to and from us," said Marsh Muirhead to an audience at the Great American Think Off last night in New York Mills. As hoped, Muirhead will be bringing home the gold today to Bemidji. Obviously, the audience which selected the winners of first, second, third and fourth place were also convinced that poetry does matter in our lives.

As Muirhead said in his essay which won him a place in the debate over 700 other entrants, "Poetry takes over when the prose of daily intercourse fails, when facts alone do not bear the whole truth."

Muirhead also pointed to Shakespeare and how his poetry has been part of our daily lives for over 400 years as he (Shakespeare) "has so dissected and revealed the human condition while at the same time pointing out how it is done." Muirhead spoke of the poetry in a Beatles song or his being captured at an early age by the beautiful "Annabel Lee," a poem written by Edgar Allen Poe. The poetry of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address and the first eight stanzas of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

The final statement Muirhead made to his audience was, "My heroes have always been poets--channels through which truth's superb surprise is delivered--rocking and rolling, in mystery and in celebration, essential."