Poet-diplomats are poets who have also served their countries as diplomats. The best known poet-diplomats are perhaps Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Wyatt; the category also includes recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature: Ivo Andrić, Gabriela Mistral, Saint-John Perse,[1] Miguel Ángel Asturias, Pablo Neruda, George Seferis, Czesław Miłosz and Octavio Paz.[2][3][4] Contemporary poet-diplomats include Abhay K,[5] Indran Amirthanayagam, Kofi Awoonor,[6][7] Philip McDonagh[8] and Yiorgos Chouliaras.[9]


Abhay Kumar wrote, "There seems to be a connection between poetry and diplomacy as several diplomats over the ages have excelled in poetry".[10] He further adds, "Diplomacy is a complex art that involves the mixing of political acumen, cultural finesse, language abilities and conversation skills to wield the power of persuasion. Diplomacy is generally conducted in short sentences which reveal as much as much [sic] they hide. Poetry is no different".[2] He adds that poetry and diplomacy share a few attributes such as ambiguity and brevity in expressions, a detached handling of the subject matter among others.

Aldo Matteucci wrote, "Many diplomats have used poetry in their diplomatic work: wrapping words in silk is the diplomat’s job. A diplomat may turn a lie into a ‘constructive ambiguity’ – which is a way of defining poetry. Some poets have been diplomats – Neruda, Claudel, St. John Perse. It’s an occupational hazard: the stimulating place, the sheltered existence – and the ability to paraphrase the unknowable. Few diplomats will admit to using poetry as a survival strategy".[11]

Kamel S. Abu Jaber wrote,"The language of diplomacy, often like poetry, has the ability to move people from mood to mood".[12]

Stefano Baldi and Pasquale Baldocci wrote in their book Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass,"The publication of poetry by diplomats seems more inspired by an inner need to express oneself freely than the wish to share sensations and feelings developed during the career. Only verses with their detachment from reality can present an escape from cold and bureaucratic style often imposed by the profession".[13]

Brazil bestowed the rank of Ambassador posthumously to its poet-diplomat Vinicius de Moraes recognizing his poetic talent.[14]

Russian diplomats have a curious obsession with poetry. “Poets and diplomats use the same building blocks: the idea and the word,” said Vladimir Kazimirov.[15]

“Poetry and diplomacy both rely on the alchemy of paradox. We mix fear and hope, power and weakness, love and hate to find a way out of the impossible,” said Dominique de Villepin, French Foreign Minister and a published poet in July 2002.[16]

Notable poet-diplomatsEdit


These poets have also served as Ambassadors of their countries

  • Thomas Wyatt He was an Ambassador in the service of Henry VIII
  • Pablo Neruda He served as Ambassador of Chile to France from 1970-1972.
  • Octavio Paz Her served as Ambassador of Mexico to India from 1962-1968.
  • George Seferis He served as Ambassador of Greece to UK from 1957-1962.
  • Saint-John Perse He was given the rank of Ambassador of France in 1950 but did not serve as Ambassador to any country.
  • Abhay K He is India's 21st Ambassador to Madagascar with concurrent accreditation to Comoros.


  1. ^ "Saint John Perse: Poet, Diplomat and Nobel Prize Winner". unlv.edu. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Abhay Kumar (November 3, 2012). "Two shades of passion". The Kathmandu Post.
  3. ^ Diplomats as litterateurs The Hindu August 29, 2004
  4. ^ Bertolet, Craig E. (1998). "Chaucer's Envoys and the Poet-Diplomat". The Chaucer Review. 33 (1): 66–89. JSTOR 25096037.
  5. ^ "Well versed in diplomacy". Nepali Times. 17–23 January 2014.
  6. ^ Kofi Awoonor: the literary world pays tribute, The Telegraph September 22, 2013
  7. ^ "The face of a massacre: eminent poet, diplomat Kofi Awoonor is killed". stanford.edu. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Glucksman Ireland House". nyu.edu. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  9. ^ Yiorgos Chouliaras Harvard Review July 24, 2013
  10. ^ Abhay Kumar (December 19, 2016). "Poetry and Diplomacy". The University of Iowa.
  11. ^ Aldo Matteucci (November 2, 2007). "Poetry: A Survival Strategy for Diplomats". Reflections on Diplomacy.
  12. ^ Kamel S. Abu Jaber (2001). "Language and diplomacy". DiploFoundation.
  13. ^ Stefano Baldi and Pasquale Baldocci (2007). "Poetry and Theatre". Through the Diplomatic Looking Glass (page 57)Paperback, 176 pages. ISBN 978-99932-53-18-1.
  14. ^ Brazil bestows posthumous rank on poet, diplomat Vinicius de Moraes The People's Daily August 17, 2010
  15. ^ Russian diplomats have a curious obsession with poetry The Washington Post, 2 April 2016
  16. ^ Diplomacy — The Art of the Impossible? The Globalist, 31 December 2012

External linksEdit