political poetry

there is a truth behind the assertion that poetry and politics don't mix, but one so warped it turns on itself. The truth is that much of what is called political poetry...is hackwork. From this comes the generalization that politics destroys poetry. Yet isn't that an arbitrary conclusion? Most any kind of poetry is hackwork, is slipshod, undemanding of itself. The work of idle hands that are maybe not idle enough. When you come upon an inept love poem you aren't likely to conclude that love and poetry don't mix. You may think the poet a bad poet, or even a callow person. And you may pass judgment on the work. But you won't jump to generalizations about the incompatibility of love and poetry.

—James Scully's "Remarks on Political Poetry," Line Break (Bay Press, 1988)

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