Are you being manipulated?

Poetry is inherently manipulative. Most art is, being designed to evoke certain emotions and thoughts. We are comfortable with that- it is the basis of the entertainment industry after all- people pay to have their heartstrings pulled. But what about data? People trust and rely on data and we hate to feel we are being manipulated by it (even if we are). Rightly or wrongly, data is seen as objective and unbiased.

Poetry on the other hand is entirely subjective, it deliberately presents a certain viewpoint on a subject. The poems accompanying or inhabiting the data here are not unbiased. They have their agendas, rooted in the writer’s own perspectives. Might poetry therefore pollute and debase the data?

Perhaps the value of combining the objective and rational with the subjective and emotional, is not to evoke a particular emotion, but to cause the reader to engage their emotions when viewing data and question the interpretation offered. To make the reader question how they feel- and why.

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