Why politicians need the help of poets

Camonghne Felix became the director of surrogates and strategic communications for Senator Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign in June. She is also the author of Build Yourself A Boat, a debut collection of poetry that was recently included on the long list for a National Book Award. Her writings describe sexual assault, firsthand experience of abortion and police violence, including poems about the trial of George Zimmerman, the man who shot African-American teen Trayvon Martin.

Should we be surprised about a link between the highest levels of our political world and our most acclaimed poetry? I don't think so - I think we should get ready for more, because it's coming and we need it, desperately. Political rhetoric can be so mangled these days, as United States President Donald Trump and his cronies alter our language for the worse, renaming white nationalists "the alt-right" and calling journalism "fake news".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 27, 2019, with the headline 'Why politicians need the help of poets'. Print Edition | Subscribe