POETRY ON GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY

by Vanessa Chisakula

“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.” ― John F. Kennedy

Politics and poetry are a cocktail we all need to get high on, because the combination of the two makes it easy to take in and also digest. The word is aye-effect, emotion and change in one place is the way to a better world and by the way politicians can’t be trusted but poets can be they handle emotional roller coasters which sell cotton candy right at the top and are not rough rides but soft aerial trains. I implore that we listen to poets more than politicians, they sit down to mold important messages into beautiful packages before they can dish them out to all of us. Good governance and democracy when blended into poetry make people be in the know by the way we usually don’t like our politicians more than our poets so what better way to preach governance?

The truth is freedom and poets are freedom fighters as they continue to air the truth to us daily. The world’s ultimate truth is that not one size fits all but the beauty is an art is the freedom of interpretation and this is why art has a high possibility of interpretation. Poetry is democracy lived and the two should not be separated, these are your duly God appointed leaders the world does not realize it needs, until hell breaks loose or they can’t breathe from the corruption so they call a poet to air a different view, some fresh air into the situation at hand. Freedom to be stands the bedrock of democracy also for poetry, it is its democratic nature that has allowed poetry to remain soulful, intimate and so personal that it has not be used as show-biz stunt that easy, its essence would immediately die if we strip of the underlying existences of democracy and governance.

For the activism embedded in poetry is the most powerful, softest yet persuasive tool to use in luring people to understand what is being communicated. If activism does not bring anything new it only awakens what is already there, poets have been running the world since the beginning of time. today they represent the modern-day town criers who take to new platform such as social media and will be fearlessly speaking truth to power we are feel like running for president or better yet speak up for the current one to see his errors.

In his classic guide to literature, ABC of Reading, Ezra Pound said that “literature is news that stays news.” The landscape is entirely contemporary, stories, signs, symbols are used to make wonders because we are in an enormous wonderland, not necessarily fairytale but it’s fair to call it that, we might all be auditioning for Cinderella but we all know who’s the step mother. The topography has dumped the desks, tables, notepads being the center of the affair. Poetry has grasped the format of storytelling better than any form of the art and knows this is the cherry on top of the democracy and governance cake and so poets talk the story language fluently. The gossip tables have moved to digital stages and we all want our latest scoops on our tabs, phone and whatever gadgets we a sync with the rest of the world, we now watch series to break down per season a whole conspiracy theory we thought was our imagination but believe me you it’s so interesting to see power explained in 3 minutes.

According to “The Politics of Poetry” by David Orr, poetry and politics connect through expression and feeling, although both of them are matters of persuasion. Political poetry connects to people’s feelings, and politics connects to current events. In nations which respect the freedom of speech but not after speech, it is risky to say certain things and get away with them. Poets operate on what is known as poetic license, what better way to voice out than in three to four minutes of clarity and heavy facts which leaving everyone thinking but equally guarantee you freedom because at the end of the day you are just being an artist.  A poem acts as an affective image, performance, or experience, grabbing attention and of course is spoken of after, which means freedoms and rights are discussed in style when a poet takes the stand.

We let the poets take us through heartbreak, body shaming and so many issues we are affected with but cannot say them out loud. To everyone who feels like saying ‘Fuck the president’ it always feels better being heard from an artistic as the centre term becomes so poetic. But we pay less attention to these messages which are not necessarily new but necessary and also not the oddest ideas but the common ones the rest of the world is afraid to say.

A society’s civilization is seen by the quality of artists it has and when the poets take the lead we see magic happen. In the words of Wallace Stevens, from Opus Posthumous, “The poet is the priest of the invisible.” 

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