OF POETRY AND POWER
WELL-VERSED IN POLITICS? Writers Mithu Sanyal, Dmitrij Kapitelman and Simone Buchholz recently suggested adding some beauty to German politics, by establishing the post of parliamentary poet and a scholarship to fund it. Potential laureates could act as an “irritation and disruptive factor,” they said, and at the same time “build bridges.” People who watched Amanda Gorman read her inauguration poem for U.S. President Joe Biden might remember the profound effect — both calming and stimulating — that her piece had on many people, including politicians.
Not ready for rhyme time: German cities from Bergen Enkheim to Rottweil offer scholarships, awards or positions for writers-in-residence. So it does not seem a huge stretch to suggest parliament might do something similar. Katrin Göring-Eckardt, a Bundestag vice president from the Greens, backed the project. But the idea was subject to ridicule and malice on Twitter and in the letters pages of newspapers — in short, in places where beauty is hard to come by. Wolfgang Kubicki, another Bundestag vice president, joined in the criticism, branding the proposal an “elitist project.” Kubicki is certainly an authority on the subject, as a senior member of the FDP, the self-declared party for high-earners.
Poetic license refused: Bild columnist and in-house poet Franz-Josef Wagner was also not a fan of the idea. He declared that “everyone loves poetry, but not now,” in the midst of a pandemic. He observed that “tears trickle down onto a [poet’s] writing pad,” where “colorful and glittery poetic words, glinting like dust in the light” appear. But what the country needs now are “clear words … Hard, true words,” wrote Wagner. That aside, he noted: “Poets usually work at night. Over several bottles of red wine, during the day they sleep. Not all of them. But most of the ones I know.”
kilde: politico, Berlin Bulletin