Why I Do Not Write Poetry About Political Issues
I do not write poetry that is explicitly political in content. Some protest poetry can be effective and move me. Where it seems most effective is in quasi-poetic lyrics to popular songs. But often it leaves me cold, even if I share the writer’s sentiments.
I have several reasons.
One is that I happen to have a personal distaste for politics. It’s a nasty business. And people’s political convictions override reason or even rational, unemotional discussion. I have, or course, what could be considered ‘political convictions’, although I consider myself non-partisan and really try to be. They just don’t seem appropriate content for my poetry.
Another reason is that they seem so transitory. The passage of time soon makes them anachronistic and only of historic interest.
The third reason is that most political poems are really bad. Poetry doesn’t seem a suitable genre for their expression. I can certainly appreciate well-written polemic essays, even if I don’t agree with the author. And brilliant satire delights me. These forms are undisputedly important literary creations.
I don’t think politics should just be left to politicians, but writers have better genres to work in if they choose to deal with political issues.