ABA book connects law and poetry using language from preamble to the Constitution


 

The American Bar Association Business Law Section has published “Law and Poetry: Promises from the Preamble,” a collection of 56 poems — one for each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. This anthology uses the language from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution as a structure and framework.

Editor Kristen David Adams notes the connection between law and poetry, where she reveals that poetry about the law may be the single most effective way to connect with the human experience of the law — what it feels like to be the judge, juror, attorney, witness, or even the accused. The anthology includes works by famous poets as well as others who are not as familiar. From Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Carl Sandburg to Rudyard Kipling, Jack Mapanje and Emily Dickenson, this collection of poetry attempts to share the meaning of the law.

The anthology was inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address in 1861 where he states, “Continue to exercise all the express provisions of our National Constitution, and the Union will endure forever.” Adams conveys that one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was “to form a more perfect Union.” With this goal in mind, the collection is separated into sections using language and themes from the preamble. Each section seeks to challenge the reader to consider how the promises and ideals of the preamble might be fulfilled by “the better angels of our nature” and to illuminate opportunities for changes that might assist in reaching those ideals.

Adams is the William Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law. She has authored seven books and is an active member of the ABA Business
Law Section.

“Law and Poetry: Promises from the Preamble” ia available in paperback for $34.95. To order a copy, call 800-285-2221 or go online to ShopABA.org.

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