Poetry & Poets in Rags of May 8

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rus bowden
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Poetry & Poets in Rags of May 8

Postby rus bowden » Tue May 08, 2012 10:45 pm

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Chinese blogger Fang Hong wrote a two-line poem that got him sent to a labor camp for a year for "fabricating facts and disturbing public order." That poem mocked Bo Xilai, the then head of the Communist Party's Chongqing branch. Bo Xilai is no longer a party chief, but is facing murder charges with his wife for the poisoning of British businessman Neil Heywood. Fang Hong is seeking redress for his lost year. That's our top story.

If there's not enough intrigue to that story, maybe the one about a UK publisher issuing a book of Taliban poetry is your cup of tea. Is it fostering the propaganda of an enemy who is killing British young men and women? Or do we get to see inside the minds of that very enemy? Or are the poets outside that whole system of enemy nations?

Or maybe you like down home intrigue, as when Byron sent his little daughter Allegra off to be raised in a convent, without telling the child's mother. Or how about the Mexican government spying on activist poet Javier Sicilia?

And then we have two poets, Martin Espada in one story and Sunni Patterson on our Back Page, talking about the role of the poet in society. Should art be for more than art's sake, or ought the artist or poet stand for change.

I don't know what Fang Hong wrote in those two lines that got him under the slave driving of the Chongqing Reform Through Labor Committee, but he was a year ahead of his time. His two lines were not art for arts sake.

We have dozens more articles this week about poets and their poetry in our three sections: News at Eleven, Great Regulars, and Poetic Obituaries. Thanks for clicking in.


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