SENTINEL POETRY (ONLINE) #42
The International Journal of Poetry & Graphics...since 2002
MAY 2006 ISSN 1479-425X Editor: Amatoritsero Ede
Editorial: The Professional Poet continued from Previous page
and plays up to a gallery of politicians, literary administrators, the beguiled or ignorant public and so on.
When the poet insists on discharging his duties to the society by being overtly critical he falls out of favour or power. Power should not be his preserve anyway because power corrupts and so does money; and these two are infinitely entwined in the game of patronage. Humility, not the monarch’s chambers, should be the poet’s first court. A good example of a poet falling out of favour is the erstwhile Poet Laureate of New Jersey, who was brave enough, in a world running wild with lap-dog poets, to criticise. Here is the poem in contention:
Somebody Blew up America
They say its some terrorist,
Who killed the most niggers
Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Like an Owl exploding
The poet was brave indeed and discharged his duties admirably. But from a long-standing poet and no neophyte, one would have expected a more subtle language that would stab at hypocrisy and at the same time disarm. But as that poem stands its language is too close to that of propaganda. It was this one failure that made him fall out of favour; this near prosaic deployment of a language that should be properly satiric and difficult to arrest.