Think of a poetry of political diagnosis. Iliad, Odyssey, Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare, the Russian novelists... they all explored what could be acknowledged as good & right & normative, in contrast to all that could not be so acknowledged. Joyce wrote somewhere about Ulysses, something like, "I have affirmed what I was able to affirm about the modern world" (probably haven't got that quite right, sorry).

But their world is not our world; we're confronted with our own present-day spectacle of words & actions, plans & conflicts, ideals & realities, to be comprehended by & for ourselves.

To delve like reporters (rather than opinionators) into the history, turmoil, chaos, sickness, confusion, obtuseness, misapprehension, insight, foresight, suffering, sacrifice, greed, treachery, pride, hatred, war, ignorance... the whole 9 yards. That would be a sort of political poetry.

The dissonance between what an American might see as hopeful & right, and what the woman &/or man on the street in Cairo or Beijing or Uganda or Bogota thinks and experiences; the difference between democracy & privilege, on the one hand, and poverty & the ideologies - the para-politics - of rage & revenge, on the other; the difference everywhere, including the US, between ideals of equality and freedom and the reality of hardship and pinched opportunities, between ideas and facts... there's plenty to write about, in the political sphere, if you can find a way into its reality.

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