Poetry for protest

By its very nature poetry is connected with the world and the imagination. It emerges out of making sense of the world and finding meaning in the complexities, ambiguities and incongruities of living. Of course that suggests that poetry is necessarily wide in scope and form. That is the beauty of poetry, and its rightful purpose. It transects all that is in the human experience, across cultures, languages and differences that make us all the more interesting as a species.

Given this diversity, breadth and scope one should expect that poetry encompasses many forms and purposes. One of these purposes is critique: to challenge the unfairness of what we see in the world of humans living with each other in a variety of circumstances, to defy systems that may oppress and bring attention to societies where disorder, war, cruelty and inequity appear to go unchallenged. So, poetry, alongside the goal to find beauty in all its varieties and forms, has the duty to call out the ugly, challenge the unjust and stand for the rights of those who may not have voice.

I stand in this purpose for poetry as social action, as voicing concerns for those who may not have voice, as advocating for those who are oppressed or seek justice or who are silenced in systems that do not want to hear. Of course I make no claim to speak for people who can speak for themselves out of thier own culure and distinct perspective. I do not want to speak when I have no right to speak. I speak only for me: I plea only from what I see and feel, and it is up to the reader to make of it what they will.

So, poetry is not just about describing the world or feeling in the world, or even offering wisdom and understanding. It is also about protest, even offence, challenging all that stands in the way of people finding a good and just life, and pointing to distortions and untruths that amount to nothing more that cruel lies. This poetry of protest, that has existed for hundreds of years, seeks to bring awareness and call attention to that which often stands as a blight in front of us and needs to be called out, even if those who lead choose to be blind.