Why ban poetry?
“If I keep listening to it, I won’t finish the revolution.”
–Lenin, regarding Beethoven’s “Appassionata” Sonata
Inspired by an article from Frederick Smock and a viewing of the German film “The Lives Of Others,” Robert Peake considers what it is that makes tyrants and warmongers silence the voices of poets and other artists.
“The U.S. Treasury Department – which, among other things, handles cases of treason – recently warned American publishers against translating poetry from Iran. Such translations, they avowed, would be considered ‘trading with the enemy,’ and would be punishable by fines and jail time.”
Peake, in this quiet and thoughtful piece, argues for poetry and compassion and against demonization and propaganda. He reminds us why poetry matters now.