Is Poetry a Crime?

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Photo Image: Davy D

A strange question to start this week’s poetic pondering, but please bear with me on this one.

The question was posed when I visited a bookshop in my local town a few days ago and decided to have a look in the poetry section. After a long while searching I eventually found a scant collection of poetry books and,to my horror, discovered they were listed under the category CRIME (the photo at the head of this post is evidence of the said misdemeanour).

Now I know some of my poetry offerings have bordered on criminal, but to take things to this level is an attack on poetic liberties. When did poetry become a crime?

I tracked down the manager of the store and gave him an opportunity to explain this apparent change in legislation. Apart from a shrug of his shoulders and a few ineligible grunts he was unable to shed any light on the matter.

When I returned home I went through my police service archives and at no point did I ever arrest anyone for the offence of poetry, or remember being called to give evidence in a case of poetic injustice. A search on the internet did provide reference to a book by Michael Connelly called, The Poet, where a serial killer leaves excerpts of Edgar Allan Poe poems at the scenes of his murders, but that’s just fiction.

So please poets, keep a watchful eye when going about your daily poetry business. It seems there may be something sinister afoot.

If you see or hear about any similar attempts to criminalise poetry, please let me know.

60 Comments

This is something I have never about… Amusing

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Never heard of poetry leads to crime here. Surely, this is funny and silly too!

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I couldn’t help but chuckle at this one. 😆

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Great post, Dave. Two things came straight to mind when reading this:

Eminem – Criminal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sWP_6YFEgw
“I’m a criminal
Cause every time I write a rhyme,
these people think it’s a crime
To tell em what’s on my mind, I guess I’m a criminal
But I don’t gotta say a word, I just flip ’em the bird
And keep goin’, I don’t take shit from no one.”

Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyr2gEouEMM
Starts with the disclaimer: “All characters in this visual are entirely fictional. The events that occur are purely symbolic and should not be taken literal.”

Maybe the store manager needs to put a sign up in the crime section.

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Here’s something you don’t see everyday….

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An interesting subject – especially for a copper! Poet’s have written about ‘crime’ before. I think perhaps your bookseller has been misinterpreting Andrew Marvell on reading his poem ‘To His Coy Mistress’. I’ll email you later with a further comment.

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Rhyme Crimes! Punishable by groans.

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Leave it to your detective eye to catch that! It’s a new one to me. Thanks for the laugh.

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Davy, I loved your humor in this one! Maybe I’ll have to rethink giving poetry a try. Or perhaps, this is a UK phenomenon? But with our current administration in the U.S., similar travesties are soon to follow 🙂

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Oh my goodness!! This is both tragic and hilarious! How can we get the youth of today to read poetry–and write it–if, a) they can’t find it in the bookstore, and b) are concerned it may somehow be illegal? Although…considering the great number of bored teens who resort to crime, maybe if they “thought” it was a petty crime/lowest class of misdemeanor, they might get curious enough to hunt down some poetry. I’m especially disappointed that the store manager couldn’t give you a good answer as to why “poetry” was shelved under CRIME, because your question was very legitimate. I sure hope he’s not just working there to put himself through law school…or the police academy 🙂

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Don’t they even try! I’ll let you arrest them instead, D. 😁 This reminds me Richard Montanari’s novel too where the serial killer uses Poe’s poems and stories as a theme for his murders.

Meanwhile, there were people who made me feel like it’s a crime writing poems and liking poetry. *sigh*

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thank you the giggles, Davy!

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You cracked me up again! Love to laugh. Thanks. With such a keen eye you must have been very good on the force? I’m with you. I think it is an affront, besides how are the poor searching souls going to find the soothing words to comfort them if poetry is shown to be a crime?

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    One of the best lol. It is true Charles, but on a more serious note there have been poets, in countries where there are dictatorships, who have been imprisoned for their poetic thoughts and writings. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      Always look forward to your posts and writings!! Sadly, what you say is true and we can be thankful for the freedom we have and work for those who are deprived of it.
      So, do you laugh at your own jokes? As you probably can guess, though I’m embarrassed to confess it, I laugh at mine. It is shameful how easily I can be amused!!

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      Thank you Charles. I am always laughing at my own jokes as I am usually the only one that finds them funny :0

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Amusing and thought-provoking.

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Loved it . Its a really serious issue lol

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this is great and quite funny — but personally, my friends and I did start a book where we wrote serial killer haiku’s. We would write them in the point of view from different types of serial killers… we didn’t get it published but it was more of a “can we do this?” they were quite interesting! hahah

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It is only criminal to write bad poetry. That’s why they’ll never let me out.

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Excellent post…. 😀 Certain things happen for a reason!. you made me think of Plato´s Aberration towards poets. Maybe there was a subliminal message to ponder. A judgement, better said…

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    Thank you Aquileana. An interesting thought. I think there are always subliminal questions to ponder even if we are not properly aware of them. As for Plato, did he really abhor poets or was it their poetry 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      Well, I´d say that he pretty much disliked both Poetry and Poets.-…From a gnoselogical point of view, he considered that Philosophy was opposed to Poetry and Rhetoric. In “Republic”, he argues that the influence of poetry is often damaging, and attacks the poetry of Homer. Of course, we need to keep in mind that his ideal of government, was an elite of ruling philosophers. (Not “democratic”, at all)
      For him the only ones capable of achieving superlative knowledge were the philosophers. 😉 Thank you for your reply here. I think your blog is great!

      Liked by 1 person

      Thank you Aquileana. I have had a look at your blog an am looking forward to some interesting philosophy conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

I try to write micro poetry – does that make me a criminal? Ha ha… Perhaps some poets might consider the micro version to be unworthy of their attention. Who knows? Not me, After Aquileana’s visit everything is getting philosophical…

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