Poetry & Politics

OK, so I love the new “political” tone of my blog. I guess my topic for discussion today is the relationship between poetry and politics, and whether or not I think poetry can save the world (!!!). Personally, I like Political Poetry for a number of reasons, but most of all because it has such an obvious “message.” For instance, I think it is hilarious/awesome when Lawrence Ferlinghetti just flat-out says, “Governments lie,” in Poetry as an Insurgent Art. Although that statement seems pretty much unpoetic, it is definitely memorable (not to mention outrageous!). Plus I like the way Ferlinghetti uses a lot of repetition in his poetry, as in “Pity the Nation,” which makes his work, again, memorable, as well as musical. This repetition, in combination with his bold and simple statements, makes him seem more like a politician than a poet. …Well, if any kind of poet is going to “save the world,” I guess it would have to be a political poet. I don’t want to disrespect some of the ladies published in the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology, but I agree with Ferlinghetti in that I really doubt that some sixty-year-old sitting at home sewing and writing poetry with her cat is going to seriously rumple the fabric of society. (BTW, I’m not bashing the lifestyle–I do this, too.) Now that I think about it, though, I guess it would be weird but also kind of cool to see an elderly poet reading his (or her) really politically dissident work on Democracy Now! . . .

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