NEW YORK MILLS — Marsh Muirhead, Bemidji, dentist and poet, won the debate of the Great American Think-Off question, “Does Poetry Matter?” Saturday.
Muirhead’s argument that poetry matters to many was advanced by his strong example of the popularity and quality of the poetry of former American poet laureate Billy Collins. Muirhead was instrumental in having Collins read his work in Bemidji.
Muirhead was awarded the gold medal and the title of “America’s Greatest Thinker” for 2011. The New York Mills Arts Retreat and Regional Cultural Center is the annual sponsor of the event that encourages everyone to bring philosophy out of the university and into the daily lives of all Americans.
Mahmood Tabaddor of Rochester, Mich., the second-place medal winner, argued that poetry no longer matters to the large majority of Americans who prefer reality shows on television and fantasy novels to pass the time.