Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ancient Art Forms

According to the Boston Globe this morning, City Councilman James Tobin is proposing Boston appoint a Poet Laureate for the City.

I was listening to WRKO this morning and Scott Alan Miller was talking to Tobin. WRKO is definitely a conservative audience, or at least the majority of callers are conservative. Hence, Miller and Tobin were constantly reminding the audience that this effort would "cost the city no money."

However, in the Globe article, Tobin says he is unsure of whether or not there will be a stipend. Maybe Tobin is thinking the stipend would come from a private foundation. Although Miller, on his blog and on the show, is very supportive of the idea, he keeps qualifying it by saying that it is a good idea as long as it doesn't cost the city anything.

This is the tension, I guess, with arts and public support. The conservative side of my brain agrees with Miller, but the conservative side also says, "So this artist is supposed have all these responsibilities with no remuneration?" From the decription::

Saying it is time to update the extensive but somewhat musty canon of poetry about Boston, a city councilor is proposing that a poet laureate be appointed to record in verse the ins and outs of local life.

In addition to composing works about Boston, according to a proposal by Councilor John Tobin, the city's poet laureate would be charged with educating the public about the ancient art form. He or she would also compose poems for functions such as the State of the City address, swearing in municipal officials, and high school graduations.

Even Celebrities doing charity events for their own charities sometimes charge a fee for their appearances at the events.

The entrepeneurial argument would track along the line that there would be increased exposure, branding and advertising for the poet.

It is a good article that brings up a number of sides to the argument. Apparently there is also a bill in the works to establish a State Poet Laureate.

The Article lists a bunch of poems by Bostonians and about Boston. Here are links to the ones I could find:

Oliver Wedell Holmes - Old Ironsides
Walt Whitman - A Boston Ballad
T.S. Eliot - The Boston Evening Transcript
Robert Lowell - For The Union Dead

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