Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Here's a really Right-wing idea: learn poetry

Boris Johnson: Here's a really Right-wing idea: learn poetry - Telegraph

As anyone who loves poetry will testify, when you learn a good poem, you make a good friend. You have a voice that will pop up in your head, whenever you want it, and say something beautiful and consoling and true. A poem can keep you going when you are driving on a lonely motorway, or when you are trapped on some freezing ledge in the Alps, or when you are engaged in any kind of arduous and repetitive physical activity, and need to keep concentration. When some disaster overwhelms you, or when you are feeling unusually cheerful – or when you are experiencing any human feeling whatever – it is amazing how often some line or phrase will swim to the surface and help to articulate your emotions, to intensify them or to console.

That is why it is so sad that children are no longer learning poetry off by heart, and doubly sad because poetry is the one art form in which the English are unsurpassed. The Germans beat us at classical music. The Americans invented rock and roll. I am afraid that the Italians, the French, the Dutch and the Spanish can all boast a more illustrious roll-call of top painters, and the Russians have produced the greatest novels. But no other nation has ever produced so much high-quality poetry – mainly, I think, because of the language itself.

I really don't think this is particularly right wing.

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