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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poetry as Propaganda

A friend once told me, "It's very easy to die for a cause. It's very difficult to live for a cause." This is something that surely every poet understands.

That being said, apparently ISIS is now using poetry as propaganda to rally their troops into martyrdom. This is certainly nothing new, but is still disheartening.

In defiance, I wonder if readers could write their own propaganda. What changes would you like to see made in Cleveland, and what would the rewards of such changes be? What could we do to make Cleveland more friendly, beautiful, prosperous, artistic, healthy, successful? Where is that poetry? Identify a problem--little or big--and then promise the people who commit themselves to solving that problem the most glorious, celebratory, visions of delight. If terrorist martyrs get 72 virgins to die for their cause, what do the people get if they live for your cause?

I can't wait to see your poems.


2 comments:

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Propaganda, I would say, is easy, and is something that there is all too much of in America already, at least on a superficial level. Too many people-- too many poets-- are too loud propagandizing some already predigested points of view. What is hard is dialogue, and seriously engaging people, particularly people who aren't already on your side.
The poet's job is not to shill for some political viewpoint, but the much harder job of making people see: see what is invisible, see through stereotypes to humanity, see connections and echoes that are not obvious.

JJ Stickney said...

I just put something up on Phillip Levine. His poetry advocated a basic humanity...

Cited...

The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau