Actually, no, they weren't. Not the poets we remember from when poetry had an audience, at least. Drama, comedy, romance, elegy? Sure. Philosophy and religion? Maybe. Polemics? For niche publishers, perhaps, but not as a general rule. To be clear: Mr. Vidal isn't saying "political" in the usual reductionist sense that everything is political (or dramatic, romantic or even humorous--whatever the pseudointellectual wants to argue).
His example of "for centuries"? "From Langston Hughes to Jack Kerouac..." leading to other contemporaries: Pablo Neruda, Allen Ginsberg, and Amiri Baraka.
|Garcia Lorca in 1914|
Needless to say, Mr. Vidal doesn't list examples of political pieces by Lorca. Nor can anyone explain how badly one would have to misread Lorca's poetry before describing it as "overtly political". Are we supposed to view "Llanto por Ignacio Sánchez Mejías" as...what?...a diatribe against bullfighting?
Mr. Vidal continues unabated: "At its root, poetry is the language of protest."
Do people actually think before they write these things?
"I want to die decently in my bed." - Lorca, in "Romance Sonambulo"