"Do I value politics in poetry?"

Poetry is the art of language. It was Brodsky, I think, who said that poetry and politics have only two things in common, letter p and letter o. I agree with this. 
But, poetry is also the art of attentiveness. Attentiveness, Celan teaches us, is the natural prayer of the human soul. I don't think there is much poetry of attentiveness that isn't political. (The decision not to be political is also political.)



Writing about blackbirds, in our day and age, is political. Writing about vodka bottles, also. Writing about marriage in the country where for whatever idiotic reasons marriage is only allowed to certain groups of individuals is political.

This is an important question you are asking. But because this question has been asked for several generations, in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and again now, the repetition of it, the fact that we still need to ask these questions seems a bit silly to me. It is as if here in USA our literary discussions tend to build straw villages and then we fight those straw villages. Let's not have those silly games. Lets have real drama on the page. If William Shakespeare (one example of a great political writer) could have that, why shouldn't we?

--Ilya Kaminsky