April 24, 2012

The Public Uses of Poetry

Tom Clark, Victoria University, has published Public Poeisis: Theorising Contemporary Civic Uses of Poetry in Australia and the United States. Here is the abstract.

Uses of poems and extracts from poems for ceremonial or ritual purposes within civic discourse reveal the inherently aesthetic nature of all political language. We can read in these civil and stately appropriations of poetry a desire for validation or embodiment of the aesthetic qualities of the events they embellish, and of the public and political agendas those events carry. This paper argues that poetry as public language reveals how public language is poetry. It illustrates that proposition by a critical comparison of excerpts from Australia’s annual ANZAC Day dawn service and from the oath of office ceremony for USA President Barack Obama in 2008.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

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