Poetry and Politics

Poet Anthony Desmond raised an important topic recently over at dVerse Poets Pub: that most people would rather keep quiet about the matters that trouble the world and the people living in it. Should and could it be the poet’s role to talk about these things? If we believe in the power of words, shouldn’t we be using them to raise awareness, to start a debate? And can words really bring about change? Such a tricky topic, one that I often debate internally. The poem below was inspired by the online discussions.

Picture from The Guardian.
Picture from The Guardian.

I am an angry poet but

Can my words astonish, shame or fly

out into the world to cry

at the injustice or bring about change?

Give voice or succor,

placate when hatred piles on higher and higher?

Too much is shrieking




And all I can think of to do is





All I have are puny words

drowning in babble.

So I am an angry poet but


an all too quiet poet.


7 thoughts on “Poetry and Politics”

  1. Oh, this is powerful, Marina Sofia. And I do believe that words, including words from poets, can make a big difference. There is a lot in our world that needs fixing; words call our attention to it and keep it in our minds, so that perhaps we can do some fixing.

  2. Échos des débats Sartre-Camus: il n’y pas de littérature qui ne soit engagée! 🙂

  3. Very thought-provoking, Marina Sofia. I don’t know if words can change the world but if the alternatives are violence and destruction, it’s worth trying.

  4. i’m often too quiet as well when i should speak up – i’m a kinda careful person by nature me thinks – i’m learning though…

  5. Well, words, including poetry, can change consciousness, push deeper thinking, etc. And, of course, words, combined with action really pushes for change.
    In pondering your question, I think of the great African-American poet, Langston Hughes, whose words influenced many people and cause us to think more deeply about oppression and real life for many. There’s Neruda in Latin America, Heaney in Ireland, so many more who have made us think more deeply. And that’s just a sample; there are so many more poets who motivate change.

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