I never knew that February would feel like a relief, but January was just too much, a relentless stream of news that kept going from bad to worse. Now that the shock of the POTUS transition has diminished (maybe? at least for a moment?), it's time to take a deep breath. Stop screaming. February is the perfect time to take stock of the year's first month and refocus on your politics. Because, despite the signs and policies and appointments that can suggest otherwise, our political engagement really does make a difference. If you're looking for a way to fire up your own politics before the next march or protest, look no further than poetry — particularly these poems that will fuel your politics.
It's probably not news to you, but poetry has a long and not so #dramafree relationship with politics. Poems went viral — and hard — in the immediate aftermath of the election, and The Atlantic's Megan Garber interviewed Don Share, editor-in-chief of Poetry magazine to talk about the phenomenon. Share said:
People who are poets are often very political; they’re often activists. We talk about political poetry as if it’s a kind of effusion about something going on, but the truth is, the heritage of poetry includes politicians. I mean, Yeats was a politician. Our greatest poets, really, have been active in what goes on in the world. And great or unknown, poets are participating in what makes a difference in the world. If you perceive that politics is a way of making a difference, and you engage in it, then you can get something done. And the same can be said of poetry.
Ready to read — or write — your way into making a difference? Check out these seven poems, which will fuel your politics and your poetry.