The Common Good

Rose Marie Berger: Poetry and the Language of War

E. Ethelbert Miller, who has been called "Washington D.C.'s unofficial poet laureate," recently interviewed Melissa Tuckey, a poet and activist involved in DC Poets Against the War. (I was lucky to have a poem published in the first edition of their anthology.) I particularly like what Melissa says about the influence of war language on poets:

If anything the war has made me more passionate about the importance of poetry, for its power of engaging heart and mind, and for the way it speaks truth to power and encourages readers to acknowledge and appreciate the complexities of truth. The language of war has made me leery of simplistic thinking and dichotomies like "good versus evil" or "us versus them." In my writing I try to remember that I am complicit in this world. Even though I oppose the war, I am a part of it, it is not separate from me. Likewise the language of war has made me leery of abstractions like "freedom." I want precise, personal, accountable language and experience.

Melissa has a great poem called Full Snow Moon. Check it out.


Rose Marie Berger is an Associate Editor and Poetry Editor for Sojourners magazine.

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