Poetry and Politics would
not normally be something
you see together, unless it’s on
a button or bumper.
Tippecanoe and Tyler Too,
All the way with LBJ,
and my personal favorite,
“Let Well Enough Alone" – 1900 U.S. presidential slogan of William McKinley
I’m not kidding, that last one
is totally real.
Yet, there is poetry to politics.
It takes a deft hand and skillful
mind to craft sentences that are
both true and un-true at the same time.
Like any art form, politics,
is in the eye of the beholder. A poem
about a President written in fecal matter can be
startling, insightful and offensive all at once.
You may think it vile, but it’s
hard to ignore the impact it may have had
on you. You may love it and think it’s a
brilliant statement, also affecting your life.
The difference I think with poetry and politics
is I can describe a vagina with flowery language,
maybe quote Hemingway, throw a bird on it,
and no one’s life is radically changed.
Politics however are all about the words,
words with consequences. Words that have
weight. As a poet, I’m not trying to change to world,
I’m just writing about my place in it.
If I like, I can be somewhat irresponsible with what
I type. I’m not running for any public office.
I can be crass or noble without much consequence.
It doesn’t, really, matter.
Although I do feel a certain
onus to be entertaining, or at
least mildly thought provoking,
That’s my deal.
A politician however, a poet of
the public will, must restrain their
urges to sully, muddy or stupefy.
It’s a bigger deal.
I’ve always thought poetry,
should serve to elevate the senses
in some way, be eye opening and
Politics should aspire to do the
same thing. Then the Poetry of
Politics might not seem like such