On what is social in poetry

On what is social in poetry. –Nothing.  If by this it is meant that poetry should utter and participate in the latest movements, the most recent crazes for revolution, institutional reform or commentary, placing itself on one side or the other, or even at a distance but with an eye for such contests, of some social ideology or social dream.  For does it ever mean to?  Despite our sociality, does language at its height–care for such things?  Sure, it might have something to say of the latest ills faced by men and women attempting to live together, attempting to have anything of a future; poetry may say something about anything.  But this is circumstantial, as expressive of its final limit or stopping point as its speaking of grasses and mountains or moons and stars.  Poetry speaks–well, because it has something to say, not because it is of use in this fashion or other, because it might serve someone’s vision or give utterances of the dreams of some utopia.  That it might be so used–again, anything can be so used, as information of all kinds, insight of all kinds, are used for helping or hurting, for building a cohesive and thought-through image of things or to drift helplessly in the chaos of so many possibilities–that it might be geared towards reform, revolution, social commentary, belongs to the reformer, the revolutionary, the commentator, not to the poet.  Although he might feel this godlike and grandiose responsibility in the face of history, as harbingers of new eras, new tongues, inventions at the bedrock for what’s to come for the species, examples or lights on a wasted earth, the poet, as poet, sits or stands, walks along through any world, even our world, when things seem so near catastrophe that writing seems a worthless venture, and continues singing.  All rather useless songs!  All rather irresponsible songs!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s