Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Wikipedia [JB personal note: John L. Brown, my father, was a distinguished diplomat and also an accomplished poet (first?)]; he worked in the State Department in what would be be called today "public diplomacy [JB emphasis]; but am not so sure that he, a humanist (if you'll pardon the vaguely "general" term), would have approved of this essentially indefinable term (public diplomacy) as -- vaguely -- implemented today) ...

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Poet-diplomats are poets who have also served their countries as diplomats. The best known poet-diplomats are perhaps Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Wyatt; the category also includes recipients of the Nobel Prize in LiteratureIvo AndrićGabriela MistralSaint-John Perse,[1]Miguel Ángel AsturiasPablo NerudaGeorge SeferisCzesław Miłosz and Octavio Paz.[2][3][4]Contemporary poet-diplomats include Abhay K,[5]Indran AmirthanayagamKofi Awoonor,[6][7] Philip McDonagh[8] and Yiorgos Chouliaras.[9] ...
Abhay Kumar wrote, "There seems to be a connection between poetry and diplomacy as several diplomats over the ages have excelled in poetry".[10] He further adds, "Diplomacy is a complex art that involves the mixing of political acumen, cultural finesse, language abilities and conversation skills to wield the power of persuasion. Diplomacy is generally conducted in short sentences which reveal as much as much they hide. Poetry is no different".[2] He adds that poetry and diplomacy share a few attributes such as ambiguity and brevity in expressions, a detached handling of the subject matter among others.
Aldo Matteucci wrote, "Many diplomats have used poetry in their diplomatic work: wrapping words in silk is the diplomat’s job. A diplomat may turn a lie into a ‘constructive ambiguity’ – which is a way of defining poetry. Some poets have been diplomats – Neruda, Claudel, St. John Perse. It’s an occupational hazard: the stimulating place, the sheltered existence – and the ability to paraphrase the unknowable. Few diplomats will admit to using poetry as a survival strategy".[11]
Kamel S. Abu Jaber wrote,"The language of diplomacy, often like poetry, has the ability to move people from mood to mood".[12]
Stefano Baldi and Pasquale Baldocci wrote in their book Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass,"The publication of poetry by diplomats seems more inspired by an inner need to express oneself freely than the wish to share sensations and feelings developed during the career. Only verses with their detachment from reality can present an escape from cold and bureaucratic style often imposed by the profession".[13]
Brazil bestowed the rank of Ambassador posthumously to its poet-diplomat Vinicius de Moraes recognizing his poetic talent.[14]
Russian diplomats have a curious obsession with poetry. “Poets and diplomats use the same building blocks: the idea and the word,” said Vladimir Kazimirov[15]
Poetry and diplomacy both rely on the alchemy of paradox [JB emphasis]. We mix fear and hope, power and weakness, love and hate to find a way out of the impossible,” said Dominique de Villepin, French Foreign Minister and a published poet in July 2002.[16] ...

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