The Vancouver Courier, Mar. 23


  1. Geoff: a truly fine article on poetry in Common Ground, thank you. For years I’ve been saying that poetry has a role in social justice, a role mostly ignored by the rank and file of the university-based Creative Writing establishment in Canada. As a poet I’ve often cited Neruda’s dictum: “I exist not if I do not attend to the pain / of those who suffer: they are my pains.” (Songs of Protest: So Is My Life) Instead we’ve had poetry turned into yet another ‘vocation’ to channel young graduates into, though a poorly paying one without teaching tenure. Every great social movement needs its novelists, poets, playwrights and songwriters and the current Occupy movement is no exception. Once again, thank you. Have a look at my blog posts on this at chameleonfire1.wordpress.com.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Sean. I’m not surprised that the university departments don’t see the social justice angle of poetry…it seems to me that over the past two decades, most of the fine arts, from the academy to the gallery, have been defanged – so only the most inoffensive, amorphous stuff gets validation from the gatekeepers.

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