About Poety Matters

Poetry Matters is a home-grown print poetry journal that began in Spring 2006.

Censorship can take many forms. The inability to find a place of publication can be social censorship.

Poetry is freedom. Anyone can write poetry.

Nevertheless, it takes a lot of work to create the poetry that reaches the places only poetry knows.

Whoever you are, wherever you are,
Poetry Matters welcomes you as readers and writers.

Contact me about submissions and subscriptions: poetry.clh@gmail.com

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

"Wilderness has no words"

From March 1979

Sick of those who come with words, words but no language,
I make my way to the snow-covered island.

Wilderness has no words. The unwritten pages
Stretch out in all directions.

I come across this line of deer-slots in the snow: a language,
Language without words.

Tomas Transtr├Âmer 

translated by Robin Robertson 

The Deleted World, 2006, Enitharmon Press

What matters is silent. Or is heard, but no words have been used. 
The poet melts into a truth. Attempts to freeze it into words but can only do so by finding the language within, that was there before words. 
Patterns are created that mirror experience, so that the poem contains an image of something that the poet merged into for a moment.  

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Artists, Politicians and Aeschylus

In the 2006 film “V for Vendetta” one of the characters says: “Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.” It was the artist Pablo Picasso who said in 1923 that “We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realise truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.  The artist must know how to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”
Truth cannot be spoken of directly, because it is an ideal beyond human comprehension. It is part of our human yearning. Those who say they have found the truth and then try to make everything over into its image are liars who become tyrants. An artist, on the other hand, creates an illusion that hints at truth. An artist does not compel people to follow. An artist awakens the yearning for truth in others.
Apparently the young Hitler aspired to be an artist. But he went on to become one who struck out truth and installed in its place a nationalistic fervour.  
Former politician, and above all, learned thinker, Barry Jones, in his memoir quotes Primo Levi’s experience in Auschwitz. When he broke off an icicle to relieve his thirst a guard knocked it out of his hand. "Why?" asked Levi. "Here is no why," the guard replied.
The title of Jones’ memoir , “A Thinking Reed”, is taken from Blaise Pascal’s “Pensees”:  "Man is but a reed, the feeblest in nature, but he is a thinking reed. Let us strive then to think well; that is the basic principle of morality."
Jones wanted to use Pascal in his maiden speech to the Victorian Parliament, but his friend Phillip Adams advised him not to. He said, “When you talk about Pascal, they think you mean lollies.” (Pascall is a brand of confectionery.)
Sadly too many of our politicians are not knowledgeable enough in the broad ways in which they need to be if they are to truly serve people.
When Robert Kennedy was on the presidential campaign trail in 1968 he arrived in Indianapolis just as he received the news that Martin Luther King, Jr had been shot dead. He was advised to cancel the campaign event. Instead he hurriedly prepared a speech in which he quoted a Greek playwright, poet and soldier who died in 456 BC. Fortunately no one was successful in advising him against this.
“My favorite poem, my -- my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God

His delivery varied slightly from Edith Hamilton’s translation but he had it there written in his heart  to placate a crowd in their time of anger and sorrow.  It mattered not at all that probably no one in the audience had ever heard of Aeschylus.
He ended his speech with the following:
And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.”