Of poetry and power

We don’t hear much about poetry and power these days. Here is a 15-minute recording of John F. Kennedy, in the final days of his life, addressing Amherst College and speaking not only of Robert Frost but of the larger issue of politics, power and poetry.

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/80308LXB5kOPFEJqkw5hlA.aspx

To cite the accompanying blurb:

Audio recording of President John F. Kennedy’s address during a ceremony at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. In his speech President Kennedy explains the importance of public service from educated citizens, and describes the role of an artist in society, noting Frost’s contributions to American arts, culture, and ideology. The President discusses the nature of strength and power, famously stating, “When power leads men towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”

4 thoughts on “Of poetry and power

  1. Thank you for this. I listened to it in its entirety; his words are especially relevant to me because I am a music composer and recording/performing artist. His words are relevant to everyone who values humanity. I can’t help but compare his intelligence and eloquence with that of many politicians running for office today; they seem to have no intelligence or eloquence; Rick Santorum, for instance has all but said that college education is for snobs. I have tweeted this and posted it on Facebook.
    Again, many thanks,
    Elizabeth

  2. Thank you very much as always Frank.
    John F.Kennedy(and the whole family)will be well-known here in Scandinavia as well.
    Once visited Dallas;TX, and the buildiing where H.L. Oswald stood in the window in doing the fatal shoots. And ditto of what you are telling Elisabeth, you are a very gifted lady indeed.
    At the time being am unto the quantum physichs….the universe as a hologram. And it is raising the interresting question (in time)of us as observers within a mirage?

    And quite amasing if “really getting it” as a inner knowing somehow… then it IS a theatre all about us. Everything of what have happend “in the past” happens right now, and “the future” will not be,because of us participating in a Cosmic Dance of pure energy(E.C.confirming God as of pure energy)
    It is the same as ACIM telling:”I am not a body because I am as God have created me.”
    And us the substance of a thought-form.
    Love and laughter, Inger Lise.

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