“Poetry is speech at its most personal, the most intimate of dialogues. A poem does not come to life until a reader makes his response to the words written by the poet.
“Propaganda is a monologue which seeks not a response but an echo. To recognize this is not to condemn all propaganda as such. Propaganda is a necessity of all human social life. But to fail to recognize the difference between poetry and propaganda does untold mischief to both: poetry loses its value and propaganda its effectiveness.
“Whatever real social evil exists, poetry, or any of the arts for that matter, is useless as a weapon. Aside from direct political action, the only weapon is factual reportage—photographs, statistics, eyewitness reports.”
—W.H. Auden, in “A Short Defense of Poetry,” an address given at the International PEN Conference in Budapest, October 1967
Posted in Christian Humanism, Humanities, media, poetry, propaganda
Tagged A Short Defense of Poetry, journalism, poetry, preaching, propaganda, reporting, W.H. Auden
Sermon prep for the congregation:
Scott Emery has a short but interesting post on “The Raising of Lazarus” by Caravaggio. He used the painting in a recent sermon. Read the post here.
Author John Stackhouse, theologian at Regent College, makes some good points here.
Frequently I hear folks teasing Rob and Iain about their long sermons at Trinity.
That teasing has reminded me of sage advice from the political activist Morton Blackwell:
“The mind can absorb no more than the seat can endure.”
Admittedly, this is a problem I encounter when I’m teaching students during hour-and-fifteen-minute class periods. I don’t think Rob or Iain has ever given us an hour-and-fifteen minute sermon, but then I might have fallen asleep, and it only seemed short.
But you have to wonder if there was some hard-won wisdom behind ye olde 15-minute homily. For students, as well as parishioners.