Using the following poems, what is poetry's purpose in the political field? "The Market Economy" by Marge Piercy "The Great Society" by Robert Bly

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Poet Amiri Baraka once said that "art and social commentary cannot be divorced." This is true of the poetic medium. In fact, the Beat poets of the mid-20th century made political and social commentary popular within the field of poetry. Many literary movements were interlinked to political movements, such as the Beat Generation and Proletarian Poetry.

In "The Market Economy," poet Marge Piercy criticizes the capitalistic system of the West using rhetorical questions as a poetic technique. She laments the rise of consumerism in America and how it has created a culture of exploitation.

In "The Great Society," poet Robert Bly mocks the Great Society theory of liberalism in his title. While he's not critiquing the theory itself, Bly wonders if America really is a "great society." Like Piercy, Bly offers commentary on society and the flaws of capitalism. However, "The Great Society" is wider in scope than "The Market Economy." The former is more politically charged, with Bly casually but sardonically stating that "the President dreams of invading Cuba."

Like the Beat poets during the mid-20th century and contemporary spoken word poets associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, Bly is critical of the government's questionable policies.

In this regard, poetry is not just about expressing one's emotions or constructing beautiful imagery through words; it is also used to express social and political commentary. Poetry is then elevated to the same level as op-ed journalism, in which the medium can be used to articulate opinions regarding current events and political issues.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial