Big news for verse-lovers today: Ireland's next president is a poet. Michael D. Higgins, referred to simply as Michael D on his website (and no, he's no relation to the Beastie Boys' Mike D), is a long-time civic leader and politician who just happens to author a few books of poetry, including An Arid Season and The Season of Fire. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any examples of his poems online, but you can listen to him read here and here.
Of course, there's no chance of this type of thing happening here in America. But this makes me wonder...why do the "literary" types keep themselves so separate from politics? Poetry and politics have a long and strong tradition of co-existing in Europe and other countries. In communist controlled central Europe, for instance, poetry was a way to speak out against the government through metaphor.
Here in the good ol' US of A, however, we like our poetry and politics to stay separate.
But given the chance, would you vote for a poet-president? Maybe a Billy Collins/Yusef Komunyakaa ticket? Rita Dove for governor, perhaps? Hey, we've had actors crack the glass ceiling of government...why not give a poet the chance?