Poetry and Law

In 1973, Jody Caravaglia, a fifteen-year-old Hunter High School student, published the poem "The City to a Young Girl" in Male & Female under 18: Frank Comments from Young People about Their Sex Roles Today. The poem would be at the center of a public school censorship case. After five years, several committees and lawsuits, Federal Judge Tauro ruled that the poem and book should stay in the school library, arguing that libraries helped students to "explore the unknown, and discover areas of interest" (qtd. in Hentoff 36).

In his ruling about the contents of libraries, Tauro sounds as if he is imagining an Internet of information: "The most effective antidote to the poison of mindless orthodoxy is ready access to a broad sweep of ideas and philosophies. The danger is in mind control."