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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 88 | volume XVI | January-February, 2013



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 88January-February, 2013
Essays

Is It Barbaric to Write Poetry?

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p. 1
Elizabeta Bakovska

The world must have
    someone to feel its pain
    & speak of it.
    The poet is that mouth.

(from “The Poet as a Feeler of Pain”
    by Erica Jong)


    Even nowadays (or especially nowadays), poetry has remained one of the most questioned products of human creativity. What is the real need of poets to write poetry, what is the real demands of the readers to read poetry, and what is the role of poetry in (and against) historical and social trends and events? – These questions are nowadays as pressing as they used to be in the years immediately after World War II, when the German philosopher of Jewish origin Theodor Adorno, upon his return to post-Nazi Germany said that it was barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz. In the first decades of the XXI century, when the global economic crisis has overflown into a series of political earthquakes at the European and North American continue, and democracy has become an extremely expandable category (democarture, as some call it), interpreted by ideologies which are in their essence anachronous, the question that is asked is not much different than Adorno’s – does it make sense for one to write poetry, as an intimate, individual creative act, or should one use all of his creative and intellectual capacity to the world in a more involved (and joint) effort to change it to better? Or, should poetry be understood as a side effect of an extreme (selfish, egocentric, self-sufficient, egotistic) individualism, at the time when it seems that the participation in the collective, public life (at local, national or global level) is considered not only an obligation and expression of a higher civic awareness, but even abstaining and not taking sides with respect to the current issues (again at local, national or global level) seems a sin.
    The responses to the above questions and dilemmas, paradoxically, can be found in poetry itself. As early as 1839, the English poet John Donne says in his “Meditation XVII” that “No man is an island, /
    Entire of itself. / Each is a piece of the continent, / A part of the main” and he adds: “Each man's death diminishes me, / For I am involved in mankind”. On one hand, poetically defining the universality of human experience and the unity of each of us with humanity; on the other, these verses also indicate the essential nature of poetry – it was and it






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