Social poetry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Social poetry is poetry which performs a social function or contains a level of social commentary. The term seems to have first appeared as a translation from the original Spanish Poesia Socíal, used to describe the post-Spanish-civil-war poetry movement of the 1950s and 60s[1] (including poets such as Blas de Otero). Later, José Eduardo Limón, for example, has used it to describe Mexican-American Chicano poetry in Texas during the same period.[2] Elsewhere, others have used the term to describe English-language poets such as W.H. Auden[3] and George Bernard Shaw.[4] Boston University has recently offered courses in “the social poetry of Central America.”[5]


More recently, John Stubley has made use of the term as part of the Centre for Social Poetry.[6] Stubley expands the idea to include what Owen Barfield describes as poetic “effect”[7] – which distinguishes between the poetic form of words on a piece of paper, and the poetic effect of a “felt change of consciousness”.[8] Stubley explores this poetic effect or experience as it occurs between human beings (socio-poetic experience), together with all that they can turn their minds and hands to in relation to the organisation (i.e., "poeticisation"[9]) of social life.[9] He attempts to create spaces that give expression to imaginations of objective realities at work within the human and social organisms, thereby opening up the way to individual and social transformation.[9]


  1. ^ Daydí-Tolson, Santiago (1983). The Post-Civil War Spanish Social Poets. Boston: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0805765336.
  2. ^ Limón, José Eduardo (1992). Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems: History and Influence in Mexican-American Social Poetry. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520076338.
  3. ^ Manteiga, Robert C. (Summer 1989). "Politics and Poetics: England's Thirties Poets and the Spanish Civil War". Modern Language Studies. 19 (3): 3–14. doi:10.2307/3195099. JSTOR 3195099?.
  4. ^ "George Bernard Shaw - Social Poet". Vegetarian / Vegan Society of Queensland. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Romance Studies; Spanish". Boston University. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  6. ^ Stubley, John. "Home Page". Centre for Social Poetry. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  7. ^ Barfield, Owen (1952). Poetic Diction: A study in Meaning (2nd ed.). London: Faber & Faber. p. 52. ISBN 081956026X.
  8. ^ Barfield, Owen (1952). Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning. London: Faber & Faber. pp. 47–59. ISBN 081956026X.
  9. ^ a b c Stubley, John. "About". Centre for Social Poetry. Retrieved 17 May 2012.