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Monday, September 28, 2009

Two Brokers of Freedom in Poetry

I would not say that American literature has progressed to show a better way of life, but rather a steady decline in morality and ethics in American society. Why are irreverent comedies and reality shows now all the rave on television? They begin as screenplays and scripts, albeit not on par with Samuel Beckett. Is there any correlation between the women’s rights movement and the increase in pornography as well as other violence against women in our society? I enjoy the poetry of Dickinson and Whitman. I also see artistic merit in the works of French poet Arthur Rimbaud, novelist Arthur Miller, and painter Georgia O’Keeffe. In fact, I struggle now in my personal life with a penchant for vampire movies even though I am spiritually opposed to the very premise of such lore. I believe that all art merely shapes the natural experience, the very real nature experienced by the artist, into something that naturally resonates with those who enjoy that work of art. I keep in mind that we live in a fallen sinful world and that our flesh naturally enjoys the pleasures of sin, self-destructive as they may be. We have to be careful about what we allow into the ear-gate and the eye gate. As artists, being Christians, we have the added responsibility to be careful what we allow to come out of us, whether it be verbally, literarily, musically, or through visual arts. Whitman was instrumental in freeing the heart of the human animal in the art of poetry. No more need expression be limited to the confines of rhyme or meter. With her more richly arcane poetry, Dickinson demonstrated that no matter how dark or unsatisfying the reality we experience, we should dare to express it as honestly as we are able. Whitman and Dickinson both seem to make poetry more approachable, perhaps even a gift of which we are all more capable.

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