"Poetry is at its most powerful when it comments on social or political issues." Discuss this statement with close reference to two or more poem you have studied.
Hone Tuwhare , a New Zealand Maori, writes informed poetry on cultural and social issues concerning his people. His personal grievances, and deep shame about the loss of his culture are expressed in his deeply moving poetry. Tuwhare uses powerful imagery to depict the cultural losses his people have suffered through European colonization. He writes about the loss of a way of life in "The Old Place" and about the loss of spirituality in "The Kumara god Smiles Fatly" and are both examples of poetry about the destruction caused by Urban Drift.
The urban drift has delivered a cruel blow for traditional Maori culture. The financial opportunities offered by "the golden city" leads people away from tradition and culture which is the poetic source for Tuwhare's anguish, his deep remorse is vividly expressed in the fourth stanza when Tuwhare tells us metaphorically about the pain he feels regarding the colonization process: " and in no protesting sense did iron and barbed wire ease to the rust's invasion- which implies the Maori culture "iron and barbed wire" has been effortlessly "in no protesting sense" corroded by European influences "the rust's invasion.". This urbanization has left an aftermath of desolation and neglect of the traditional way of Maori life highlighted in the poem by repetition "No one comes any more, no one"- to "The Old Place".
An idea vital in Maori Culture is that your ancestors are ever present. In "The Old Place" the wind is used to represent the ancestors. " the winds slap and scream." Produces powerful pictures in the reader's head of the ancestors anguish; this brings on feelings of deep frustration at the desolation of the "Old Place" and the old ways.