Should art be political?

From Bill Moyers website: This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with poet W.S. Merwin, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize. During the taping of the interview, Merwin argued that political poetry rarely makes for good art. This is my comment:Great question, Bill. I have been thinking lately on a growing perception that museums be seen as social agents in their communities. Getting people in the doors to have a deep experience and reflect on that experience seems to me to be a most worthwhile undertaking in and of itself. I recently came across this entry on Percy Bysshe Shelley, the English Romantic Poet who said that the imagination is the great instrument of moral good and poetry administers to the effect by acting upon the causes. However, Shelley identified as the lesser poets as those who have frequently affected a moral aim, and the effect of their poetry is diminished in exact proportion as they compel others to follow this or that purpose. I too feel that cultivating the imagination creates a future rich with possibilities and empowers people to choose that possibility that suits them best not something imposed on them from others.
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