Maybe I’m just not that argumentative, but argument(/persuasion?) never occurred to me as a motivation for writing poetry before. Well, that’s not entirely true. I think we’re all always trying to argue, if not justify our or our speakers’ point of view, emotions, and experiences. Articulation is what I always thought the ultimate goal of poetry was, not that an argument can’t be articulated (that may be the only thing an argument can be). It’s up to the reader to let my words in, where as arguments command entry. Arguments came to me as secondary to the content, probably because I thought of arguments as content. But, now looking to things like Through and sonnets, I think of arguments as a form that works beside the content rather than behind it.
All this ties into our discussions of politics. I think politics boils down to interaction of ideas using people as the medium. Ideas only matter if we share them, after all. But I’m not so sure the people part is so necessary. It may be more akin to the interaction of ideas through language. In that sense, poetry is just an interface for ideas to collide as much as presidential debates or dinner tables.
That being said: if arguments are a form, then politics dominate content even if they lack content.
Politics still scares me some, though. Mostly in the sense that politics (more so than general arguments) is rhetorical/can be refuted and that there’s more to the world than language. Feelings can’t really be refuted and language is only a tool for description. Language is more like a container than its contents. Rhetoric scares me. Rhetoric is using language for language’s sake; it takes a step past interaction into the realm of persuasion. I don’t really want to change anyone’s mind. Politics is such a weak force compared to experience. So, I’d rather deal in experiences. Language interests me insofar as it communicates experiences, not so much in the ways we use it. I’m still interested in politics because of its ubiquity, but I can’t see it as anything beyond a means to an end. Language is such a funny thing, still; it’s the best way we have to communicate ideas, but by that same token its the very thing that muddies ideas. We’d be perfectly articulate without the need for language, but we need it and we have to deal with it.
This one was felt like it really rambled, but maybe that helped my argument in a hyperbolic sort of sense?
Thanks for reading.