Poetry at the Post-Prague: Politicians Scared to Admit to Liking the Arts?

Finnish Opera
BY BARBARA GUEST

It was the opera that made the dreamer famous.

I’ve taken to reading the assortment of newspapers
displayed at the breakfast
buffet in my hotel in Prague. There’s some interesting
stuff. A few days ago, the London paper,
The Daily Telegraph (July 14, 2014.) featured a piece
entitled—”Politicians are too scared to admit
they like the arts”

Is this true in the US too? Are politicians afraid
to admit they like the arts?
Could be. Government support for the arts is dismal.

Here are some facts from a recent article in Alternet., “Culturally Impoverished: US NEA Spends 1/40th of What Germany Doles Out for Arts Per Capita”:

In 2011, art funding in the United States reached a record low.

In 2011, art spending made up just 0.28 percent of the government’s non-military budget in 2011.

In 2011, local government spending also dropped.

I can recall photo ops of politicians on opening day for baseball but not one for an opening of an art exhibition, an opera, etc. Baseball—I love it too—but as we know the arts nudge out the dreamer in us all. (Ok, I think baseball can do this too.)

This opera that begins with a dream traveled
to Rome and Zagreb, traveled across continents, once by camel.

Guest’s poem takes us on a journey. The reader travels from Finland* to Zagreb, Rome and beyond. I like the idea of the journey. We may not need to travel physically to experience transformation but it’s good to keep moving—even if it is just an inch-in our interiors—to continue to “dwell in possibility.”

*Finland! Join a group of international readers in September when we explore The Kalevala, the Finnish national epic, in The Global Reading Group, a virtual literary salon.

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