Poetry Reading

by Peter Saint-Andre


Yesterday evening I was honored to have a conversation with folks from the poetry circle of the Boulder Writers Alliance, at the invitation of poet Laura Border. Although I don't consider myself a poet or even primarily a writer, it was quite a pleasure to talk with such a welcoming group about the relationship between philosophy and poetry as well as the challenges of poetry translation and the differences between ancient and modern poetry. I also read aloud some poems from my books Ancient Fire and Songs of Zarathustra. Because this is a conclave of writers, we also took time toward the end of the session for each participant to write and then read aloud a short poem. Having discoursed a bit during the discussion on the attitudes of Socrates and Plato toward poetry, here's what I composed on the spot with reference to Plato's dialogues Republic and Phaedo:

Such irony that Socrates,
Fine artist of the wisdom tease,
Who always said the poets lied,
Turned his hand before he died
To making paeans, hymns, and odes -
These works the very antipodes
Of dialogues pursuing reason.
Yes, music always has its season!

(Cross-posted at philosopher.coach.)


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