More on Engaged Poetry

I was looking around the internet for some more takes on what engaged poetry is. Through a blog I came across this essay about engaged poetry. I especially liked the very first quote at the beginning:

“The ‘engaged’ writer knows that words are action. He knows that to reveal is to change and that one can reveal only by planning to change.”
Jean Paul Sartre, from “What Is Writing?”

I also thought it was interesting when it talked about writers¬†assuming “that they can create worlds in images and words that are exempt from social reality.” It seems that with all writing, even fiction, you can’t truly escape what is going on in the world or the writer’s life, so that even if it is not truly “engaged literature,” it can touch on aspects of current events.

The full essay can be found here:

http://www.doublechange.com/issue2/actionpoetique.htm

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2 Responses to More on Engaged Poetry

  1. Andrea Kirby says:

    This post makes me ask the question “Where is the line in between an engaged poem and one that simply touches on a current event?”. I know it must be a very faint grey line, but what are some factors that make it a truly engaged poem? I do not feel like I have enough information to read a poem and decide whether or not it is engaged. All of the ones in this anthology we are reading are supposedly engaged, but if I were handed a poem that could go either way and was asked to decipher it, im not sure I could. I suppose a lot of that would be opinion, though, considering the way our class was divided in their thoughts today.

  2. Hm, I definitely agree with you and understand your curiosity with what exactly is engaged poetry..and the idea some poems just touch on an event — I wonder if that is just enough to make them engaged? Perhaps further research on the author and the content — how thought-provoking it is. I think engaged poetry is supposed to leave you questioning your view on politics or a situation, not just dating the piece (like Olds!)

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