Jewish World Review June 20, 2012/ 30 Sivan, 5772
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A nation without poets. Could there by anything sadder?
Well, not exactly a nation. Monaco is more of a resort -- a kingdom by the sea, or rather a principality. It stretches across a whole couple of kilometers of scenic coastline on the
That's right. According to the Cultural Olympiad being staged in
That's according to one of the
It's not as if Monaco is the only place in the world deprived of poets, or at least of the Have Poetry, Will Travel sort willing to join the multitudes converging on
Seven other countries are also officially poetless at the moment:
Monaco has all of 31,000 people and not a poet in the bunch, or at least one to represent it in
So much for European civilization. At such times it seems as reliable as the euro.
Never fear. This crisis is being addressed in always up-to-date Monaco. An urgent call for poets has already gone out from Monaco's department of cultural affairs. The way one would advertise for a butler, no doubt, or a nanny for the children.
But good help is hard to find. An Irish poet named Leontia Flynn who spent several months as a guest of
Think of the sad plight of the reporter for the
But by all signs she did a thorough job pounding the palatial pavement, combing through places like Monaco's yacht-crowded harbor. That's where she encountered the captain of a sleek 165-footer who explained that Monaco's rentiers were not likely to occupy their time writing poetry "unless they can hang it on a wall and point to it and say, guess how much I spent on that."
On the trail of Monacan poets -- of any Monacan poet, for that matter -- Ms. Whalen thought she'd hit pay dirt in
Wonder of wonders, the WSJ's intrepid reporter found a living, breathing poet: Paulette Cherici-Porello, who had published a book of Monegasque poems in the 1980s. Naturally, it is out of print and unavailable in shops and libraries. But at 86, the poetess, now living in an old folks' home, doesn't feel up to a trip to
But the search for poetry continues. As it should. For all of us.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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