Thursday, January 06, 2011

"...point out the inequities, nothing to lose but our chains."

I read this blog post today by Kristin Berkey-Abbott: Artifacts from the Deep Freeze of the Cold War.  It was her trip back into the past as she visited the Cold War years and concluded a poem she had written. The final stanza reads:

I write my own poems. I imagine they will change
the world, that all I must do to rid the planet of injustice
is to point out the inequities, nothing to lose but our chains.
These lines so expressed what I believe many of my generation put so much stock in. Thinking that calling out inequities would lead to an end of a multitude of injustices.  Idealistic? Naive?  Still, as I began to adapt to the life of a poet, putting such things into "my poet perspective," I've had to ask myself if I really believe I can change the world with poems?  Do I think anyone can?

Over a year ago, another poet introduced me to Carolyn Forché, an incredible poet who has established a reputation as a poet of witness. Carolyn very often writes poems that take us very gently into social injustice. I'm not sure if she is changing the world one reader at a time but she certainly has the ability, with great subtlety to unmask things that might otherwise go unnoticed by many. 

What do you think?  Can poets change the world?
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