Public Poeisis: Theorising Contemporary Civic Uses of Poetry in Australia and the United States

19 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2011

See all articles by Tom Clark

Tom Clark

Victoria University - Victoria University of Technology

Date Written: October 31, 2011

Abstract

Uses of poems and extracts from poems for ceremonial or ritual purposes within civic discourse reveal the inherently aesthetic nature of all political language. We can read in these civil and stately appropriations of poetry a desire for validation or embodiment of the aesthetic qualities of the events they embellish, and of the public and political agendas those events carry. This paper argues that poetry as public language reveals how public language is poetry. It illustrates that proposition by a critical comparison of excerpts from Australia’s annual ANZAC Day dawn service and from the oath of office ceremony for USA President Barack Obama in 2008.

Keywords: ANZAC Day, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Alexander, political rhetoric, public performance, poetry, poetics

JEL Classification: Z00

Suggested Citation

Clark, Tom, Public Poeisis: Theorising Contemporary Civic Uses of Poetry in Australia and the United States (October 31, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1952273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1952273

Tom Clark (Contact Author)

Victoria University - Victoria University of Technology ( email )

P.O. Box 14428
Melbourne City, Victoria 8001
Australia

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