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

Monday, 3 September 2018

Managing rejection

Anyone who writes poetry and sends it out to editors, will in return receive rejections.

The poet needs to learn to accept this fact and use it to become a better poet.

There are times when a rejection does not reflect upon the quality of the work in any way. It may be simply not what the editor was looking for or needing at the time.

Quite often though it is an indication that the editor sees a poem that isn't yet quite what it could be, or he or she sees an attempt that has been sloppily composed, or sometimes it can be just a little mishap here and there that jars. 

Sometimes the editor doesn't see a poem at all. Sometimes what has been submitted is something one would say in conversation to a friend, or to the lady sitting next to us on a bus. Poetry doesn't generally talk the way we do everyday because it is reaching out for something new: a newness in apprehension, a newness in expression. But that is not to say that a poem cannot ever be like a chat to the lady on the bus. That is the nature of poetry that it can be whatever it needs to be. 

One of the problems a poet faces is that it is difficult for any of us to see our writing as it is. One obstacle is that our brains love short cuts. We tend to fill in what we know should be there. For instance, this is what makes proofreading difficult, we mentally fill in the missing words, mentally correct the spelling because we know it should be there.

Sometimes a poem virtually writes itself. But that is rare. On most occasions a poem will need lots of revision over time. Then the problem that arises is that we have become blind to the poem as it is because we read into it all that we have thought about during the process of writing it; which will not be present for the readers. So they might find it baffling.

We might show it to others before sending it out, to see how they read it. But not everyone likes and appreciates the same poems, so we need to consider carefully any advice received. We really should put the poem aside for a time and forget it. Then we can approach it again as if we are seeing it for the first time. We might be appalled, or we might be delighted with what we find there. Usually it is a true assessment of the state of the poem's being.   



Friday, 27 July 2018

The Half-Finished Heaven

Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.

The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draught.

And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the ice-age studios.

Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.

Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

The endless ground under us.

The water is shining among the trees.

The lake is a window into the earth.

From Tomas Tranströmer, New Collected Poems, translated by Robin Fulton (Bloodaxe Books, 1997/2011)

"We walk in the sun in hundreds" but millions remain in the shade of poverty.

"Each man is a half-open door leading to a room for everyone" except that loneliness affects millions. Social isolation and social fragmentation are causing significant rises in anxiety and depression.

It is a half-finished heaven. Capitalism has enabled many to "walk in the sun" but its primary focus on profit, exploitation and competition has seeped, intentionally and manipulatively, into the human psyche.

When we can truly begin to care about one another then there will be "a room for everyone."

We have arrived at a time of immense possibility. But the vulture must break off its flight.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Free poetry

Modern poetry is the art of the fox. It creeps up. It strikes unexpectedly. 

Poetry uses words as weapons. But unlike the use of words as weapons by those who want dominance, those who make demands of others, those who want to silence differing points of view, poetry wants only to break out of prisons. Those prisons of worn-out ways of thinking and feeling that were only ever useful in serving the status quo. 

Poetry is the wind in your face, the blood in your heart, the wide open spaces of your mind, and the silence of your eternal being. 

If you can speak, or sign, or type or write, or laugh or cry, or scream or smile, or scratch or blink, you can create poetry. You are poetry.