Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Poetry, Politics, Poverty Two

A respected friend gently reprimanded me today for saying that dissenting voices have no impact on poverty or politics. He said those with the courage to protest against the status quo should be encouraged, not discouraged. So I will backwater a bit, and temper my normal cynicism. It could be entirely possible that voices more accomplished and resonant than mine have penetrated walls of iron and stone or reached high into privileged ivory towers. At least I hope so.

In the last year I've reviewed several excellent poetry books or antholgies about war, politics, and poverty. Poets have strong feelings about past, present, and future injustice, cruelty, politicians, and inhumanity. Some are shunned for their outspoken truths and pay a huge price for it. Critics and peers may laud them as prizes and honors go elsewhere. Some are labeled peaceniks and dismissed by those whose livelihoods depend on state or federal largesse. I can understand the label "commie pinko" being less than helpful to a poet's success, but peacenik? Peace may not be as profitable as war, but most of us believe it's a good thing and wish to see more of it.

So today I must apologize to poets around the world who raise their voices singly or collectively against all forms of inhumanity and injustice. Every poet who touches even one heart and each poem that stuns even one reader to silence should be celebrated. Poets whose work I reviewed and praised for your courage know who you are. This is my public salute to those I know and those I've yet to meet.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I would have to agree with your frien. I think dissenting voices do have an impact.

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I enjoy good writing by writers and poets who are not famous. My mother said I was born a hundred years too late. The older I get, the more I realize how right she was.

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