i have blogged several times about poets and prophets. they seem to have a kind of speech that comes from the same place, have a similar way of seeing and remaking the world.
if there is one writer who has opened up this idea more than any other it has to be walter brueggemann - the three books i am thinking of in particular are prohetic imagination, hopeful imagination and finally comes the poet. whilst i read two of those 20 years ago or so i have only recently read hopeful imagination which is an equally brilliant book. anyway that's all by way of introducing a few quotes from it on the poetic speech of prophets...
The overriding reality of the prophets is that they are characteristically poets. Poets have no advice to give people. They only want people to see differently to re-vision life.
Everything depends on the poem and the poet for our worlds come from our words. Our life is fed and shaped by our metaphors.
The enemies of the poem are the managers of the status quo.
The poets want us to re-experience the present world under a different set of metaphors and they want us to entertain and alternative world not yet visible.
Poets speak porously. They use the kind of language that is not exhausted at first hearing. They leave many things open, ambiguous, still to be discerned after more reflection.
Very often people who hear poets want an explanation, which means to slot the words into categories already predetermined and controlled. Such an act however is the death of the poem... Good porous language does not permit itself to be so easily dismissed. It intends to violate and shatter the categories in which the listener operates.
These poets not only discerned the new actions of God that others did not discern but they wrought the new actions of God by the power of their imagination, their tongues, their words. New poetic imagination evoke new realities in the community.
We lose vitality in our ministry when our language of God is domesticated and our relation with God is made narrow and predictable... Predictable language is a measure of a deadened relationship in which address is reduced to slogan and cliché.
It is always a practice of prophetic poetry to break the conventions in which we habituate God.
Every centre of power fears poets because poets never fight fair... only a poem
and a couple from prophetic imagination...
The characteristic way of the prophet is that of poetry and lyric.
The poet is not changing external politics but is reclaiming imagination... We ought not underestimate the power of the poet.