Poetry, Morality, Politics and Other News

What is the moral authority of a poet? What is the newest software for poets? Is the BAP on the up and up? Should poets have a “message?” Should poetry readings replace prayers? Who was a scandalous poet in the 20s? Here are some interesting articles concerning poetry that I came across online recently:

Poets and Moral Authority 

“Writers have no more moral authority than plumbers or butchers,” German poet H. M. Enzensberger stated at the Prague Writers’ Festival at Nová scéna.
He is also quoted in the Prague Post as later declaring that “…while in terms of literature poetry is a minority practice, a society without minority opinions and eccentrics is simply not viable. But all of this is a parochial view of poetry. Every kid out there knows 200 pop songs by heart – and that is not prose,” he said. “Even small children in kindergarten have their little verses. Poetry is an anthropological thing, like counting. We’re programmed this way.”

Why I Write: Natasha Trethewey on Poetry, History and Social Justice 

When Natasha Trethewey was asked to detail “Why I Write” to get into a graduate university program, she says her father told her to read an essay on “Why I Write” by Orwell. Orwell claimed that writing without political thought was empty, dull. She says poets always have to defend why they write, not as a judge, but an advocate. She almost didn’t get into the program because she was thought of as “too concerned with her message to write ‘real’ poetry.” She looked up “message” and it said it refers to a theme with political, social or moral importance. What’s wrong with that? She asked. Haven’t these things always been a part of poetry? I ask that, too! In this video, “Why I Write: Natasha Trethewey on Poetry, History and Social Justice” she talks about how we “write what we are given” and that includes our influence of political, racial and spiritual backgrounds.

Poetry in Schools

News around the world does support the fact that there are schools who are promoting poetry in the classroom. My own school’s third graders wrote books of poetry, drew their own cover pictures, had them published and had a reading. Here are some other articles on poetry in the schools.

1. First graders in Leroy Wood Elementary School at Fairhaven write and read their poetry.  

2. Well-known Auckland poets were instrumental in a community and school poetry project involving workshops with the theme Matariki, the Maori New Year, in ten primary to secondary schools in Otahuhu, Devonport and the North Shore. 

3. Free software by Aviary has been developed that will allow children to make their poems into a multimedia composition. Professionals can also use it to edit their works.


Check out the poem in Glen Beck’s The Overton Window book trailer. It’s from The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling. Regardless of your political beliefs, I think a poem as a trailer is a cool idea. I just like the poem, which you can read in its entirety for now, anyway.

Anis Shivani Blasts BAP

Anis Shivani lets Best American Poetry editor David Lehman have it with both barrels! WOW!!

 David Lehman’s Incestuous Coterie: Why the New ‘Best American Poetry’ Sucks Even More Than Its Twenty-One Predecessors

Poetry vs. Prayers?

Jayne Buckland, the Enfield Mayor of the Enfield Council, north London, decided to open their council meetings with poetry readings in place of the usual Christian Prayer. Seven of the ten people involved in the council hold Christian beliefs. Doug Taylor stated that “Prayers for those who wish to have a few moments of quiet reflection will be held in the mayor’s parlour before council meetings.


The shocking life of diva Edna St. Vincent Millay—open marriage, bisexuality, mandated skinny dipping in her pool, alcohol during prohibition, drugs and a strict rule of “do not disturb” during her strict writing hours, or else!


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