Plato, Pablo, and the Poetics of Health Care

Plato considered poets dangerous and banned them from his Republic, and Il Postino (1994) illustrates his point, yet also shows that we are all poets, all who use language – to love and berate, to tackle and persuade, to testify and exhort. The movie, from the book Burning Patience, by Antonio Skarmeta, a fiction set on an island of Pablo Neruda’s temporary exile, is about the democracy of language, how metaphor permeates our lives, and the consequences inherent in desiring more than our own voices can bear, even through poetry. 

Is contemporary poetry outside the margins of popular US culture? Maybe, but the creation of metaphor is still the heart of language and language the heart of culture. In the film, this is ironically dramatized by Aunt Rosa. During her hilarious visit to Pablo to complain of his contributing to the poetic delinquency of Beatrice, she lets loose with an invective that ably employs a fishnet of metaphors to describe Pablo’s bad influence on Mario and Mario’s hypnotizing effect on her niece. The blame falls on the poet for stirring the emotions of the tainted republic of the island. 

Poetry sleeps around, moving through Plato’s five regimes. Democracy gives way to tyranny; Plato should have banned lobbyists – then maybe the Republic, though awash in a bath of poetry, might at least have a decent health care system, not to mention an adequate water supply.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Casey Jones says:

    Wow Joe, it’s great to be able to read your writing for a change! What a great movie. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to stretch beyond my boundaries.

    Like

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Hi, Casey! Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you liked the movie. It’s an experience!

      Like

  2. Joey Krahn says:

    Although I haven’t seen the film, I enjoy reading your writing as well. Keep up the great work!

    Like

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks, Joey. And thanks for reading. Trust all is well with you!

      Like

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