28 March 2010

The Wickedest Speaker of the House

Visual Poetry by Individualist

This is my attempt at a Limerick. While many of us think of these little five line stanzas as a grouping of dirty jokes we heard as a kid the poetic form evidently has been around for three centuries. It is rumored that the name is derived from Limerick, Ireland where it was invented but there is no proof to this myth. For my example of this poetic style I inspired by a photograph I got from my friends at Commentarama in one of their infamous caption contests. I felt a good subject matter for a Limerick would be political satire as you can see.

Any rate a Limerick makes use of a type of foot I have yet to use exclusively, the Anapest foot. This is a rhythm of three beats, two unstressed beats followed by a stressed beat. In this poetic form lines One, Two and Five rhyme. These lines have three anapestic feet in succession (Nine syllables). Lines Three and Four also rhyme and have two anapestic beats in succession (six syllables). The cadence of this poem lends itself to joke telling and satire very well.

I debated whether to include this here as it is in my opinion different than the other work that I have showcased. If we played the Sesame Street game one of these things does not belong this would be the post that would have to be picked and that is because it is not Art but propaganda. Let me shy you away from the negative connotation of that word. Propaganda can be accurate, it can be insightful and it can have meaning. In this case it is an example of political satire and it strongly reflects my Libertarian Republican viewpoints. Propaganda, if it is any good, will employ the same tools as artwork. It will use the right frame of poetry (the right words in the right order – I am not sure who said this but I have read it I cannot remember where, I apologize to the author) or it uses the same drawing techniques of perspective, color, placement and so on. The work can be as time consuming and require as much deep insight whether it is art or propaganda. So then, what is the difference?

Mary Kinzie states that good poetry will develop questions in the readers mind. She advises the readers of poetry to read as if they were the poem’s author. When a particular line of verse is read she asks the reader to consider the alternatives that the poet did not choose. For her, the essence of poetry is the questions that are produced by the poem. I feel that this idea transcends the nature of poetry itself and can be applied to all works of art. The idea is to challenge the viewer of the picture and the reader of the poem to explore the meanings in the work and to even find meaning that is personal to them. Propaganda on the other hand as defined by me is to make a statement. It is to use the same insight and tools of the artist but the point being to deliver the message and not provoke a question. There are similarities and certainly propaganda can develop questions and art can make statements. However the purpose of Art is to engage the curiosity of the reader while the purpose of propaganda is to instruct the reader. This is a fine but important distinction to me.
In the poem Myrmidons I allude to politics in the fourth stanza. I show the praise of Obama associated with Afghanistan (a war he attempted to claim as his war in the campaign) and Bush in Iraq. I state the line “Deeds not words that make our leaders Regal”. This statement may send an inference to the reader but depending on one’s politics there could be arguments for or against both President’s or both, one could even bypass partisanship altogether and reflect on the nature of wars and politics. No clear meaning is sent and this is intentional. Here with this poem I am doing quite the opposite. It is both partisan and a very directive statement.
The reason for my debate to include this is that I intended to showcase artwork here and not deliver a message. I have included this because I felt that the Limerick itself with its jokey feel, its rolling cadence, the short nature and the simple but somewhat overbearing rhyming scheme best suited satire and propaganda. This does not always have to be the case it is just that I felt this was the best choice for a Limerick.


  1. Hi Rob,

    Thanks a lot for the compliment.

  2. I love how the aids exempted themselves from this healthcare debacle.

  3. Hello ACG

    Well you know the Pigs that did the brainwork were special and needed the extra rations and the better places to sleep so that they cold improve the lot of everyone esle.......