Monday, January 7, 2008

Do Politics and Poetry Mix?

Here are some pictures of a collage I made while listening to the Republican and Democratic presidential debates on Saturday night. (The bottom right picture is of my cat, Said, who is named after Edward Said, not the Lost character.) Yes, that's exactly what I did on Saturday night. I listened to 10 politicians discuss their policy differences and played with magazine cut-outs, paper and paints. I think that's why the paper is red and blue.

I'm torn (no pun intended) on what to do with all of the interesting things I'm learning about the presidential race. I've decided to volunteer more heavily with the Obama campaign, something that I started to do back in December. It's exciting and fun and interesting, and I'm really enjoying being involved in the political process, for once in my adult life. For instance, we went to an awesome campaign rally in Minneapolis on Saturday and got to meet some very nice fellow supporters.

However, the campaign is quickly taking over my brain and I'm wondering whether or not it belongs on this blog. I thought about starting a new blog just for this section of my life, because (if we're lucky and successful) I'll be volunteering on this campaign almost all year. I've always envisioned this blog to be about my poetry and personal life, not my political practices. But now, they're all coalescing together.

The larger question I'm asking myself is whether or not politics and poetry and real life mix. To be honest, I've always written political poetry. But it's political ideology, not political reality. There's something that seems sort of messy and mundane about who's running for president, as opposed to the systems of our culture. The blog issue is just representative of the larger question. I could segregate the political stuff to a separate blog, so that I could see the easy division of these spheres of my life. (And also not annoy readers with any political polemic. I certainly don't want to bore people with policy issues if they're expecting free verse.) But the spheres aren't that separate. It wouldn't be authentic to separate them, because the I live it all together, which is why I was collaging while listening to debates. This is the shape of my life right now: poetry, real life, and politics, all smooshed into one.

Don't worry, I won't be writing sonnets about presidential politics. (There aren't that many rhymes for mandates or ethics anyway.) I just want to be authentically representing what's going on in my life. What's going on in my life, right now, is that I'm participating in democracy. And it's really fun!