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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > Poets & POLITICS


Its blend of concision with emotional and intellectual insight make poetry a punchy format for political thoughts, suggests Alison Chisholm

Maybe a poem is the best medium for communicating a political message. Poetry packs a punch. It has more staying power than a debate or an article, and tempts more readers than a book on what may be a dry subject.

Bring together a poet and a politician, and there’s an automatic frisson rooted in communication. Both have their existence in language. Both use words to inform, persuade and cajole.

Write a poem about the coming together of a poet and a politician, and there’s a built-in intensity to grab the reader. Two people who represent the theories of state affairs and the magic of wordspinning carry the expectation of a charismatic relationship, with ideas and words taking flight between them.

Judith Daniels captures this intensity in a poem she wrote some time ago, but as she explains, it became relevant again when the contentious renewal of Trident was being discussed and voted on. ‘Our nuclear capability became headline news and polarising opinions were expressed by all parties. This reminded me of my poem and I subsequently revisited and revised it. This is the result.’

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Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017