Poetry & Politics

Poetry touches on every conceivable human experience and observation and the written verse is timeless in this regard.

The author of poetry should, however, beware when posting or publishing their works on certain subject categories, especially those that may generate a volumous and highly critical or angered response.

One such topic is politics. Nothing quite strikes a raw nerve as things political. When publishing poetry touching on political issues, whether it be in hard cover, on the internet or otherwise, the writer should anticipate some degree of negative backlash.

Most online poetry forums are open to posts of varied themes including political writings but the negative feedback can often be swift, agressive and at times unexpected, especially when taken out of context by the responding person(s).

I recently wrote a poem in tribute to a former President who passed away after battling a debilitating illness. The piece was intended strictly as a nice tribute to a high profile political leader who had dedicated his adult life to governmental office to the highest level – a tribute pure and simple.

And yet, despite my obvious intentions given the content of the poem, the very first post in response was a harsh and disrespectful attack on the deceased President to the point that a large number of fellow writers, contributing members of the website, reacted in utter consternation and requested that the highly offensive remarks be withdrawn.

In the case of an online forum this type of issue in a thread can turn into a flaming, confrontational battle and become quite disruptive for the members and reading public. After all, the website was for poetry writing and reading and highly negative and confrontational posting is strictly prohibited.

Free speech aside, authors of things political, even in the poetry community, should anticipate a measure of negative response, even in the event that the published piece is as simple and respectful as a tribute.

Having said that, keep writing…for the love of writing.

Don MacIver
copyright 2005 at A Poet’s View


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