A Great Poem

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Migrant agricultural worker in pea pickers’ camp, Nipomo, California, 1936. Photograph: Dorothea Lange
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Herbert Hoover was the president of the United States when the Stock Market in Wall Street crashed and the whole world descended into the Great Depression. Despite his lifelong reputation as a man of extraordinary managerial skills, Hoover was overwhelmed by the scope and depth of the crisis.

At some point, doggedly cornered by the press and his political rivals to put forward some solution to the economic meltdown, all he managed to say was: “What this country needs is a great poem.”

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