I am an admirer of good abstract poetry, and yet I felt drawn to satire after teaching in jails for several years. Now I find the tension between intention and unintentionality something that can provoke strong satirical writing. Ultimately even writing critical of society must be free to veer off in any direction – with verve! This is well demonstrated in Richard Lovelace’s “On Sanazar’s Being Honoured” – the most devastating satire on poetry competitions ever written. The full title is “On Sanazar’s being honoured with six hundred Duckets by the Clarissimi of Venice, for composing an Eligiack Hexastick of The City“. Here is the link.
Lovelace has always been one of my favourite poets, and he knew just what jail was!
His favourite trope is the oxymoron. I wrote an epigram in his honour:
It was this device
Which appealed to Lovelace
Ruined by war.
Finding the topsy-turvy
Through his syntax,
He juggled with a world
Turned upside down.
Some of my own satirical poetry can be found here at this link – Dick – and here at this link – Diatribe. More of my own satirical writing can be found in From Inside, published by the High Window Press.
And Statius, Dante’s guide through Purgatory, deftly juggles flattery and satire. Here is the link to a selection of his Silvae.
See also Satire for the Millennium.