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

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.


Monday, 25 June 2018

Nayyirah Waheed, "Salt"

Nayyirah Waheed has created new ground in poetry which is an achievement and a movement of significance.
Salt. published in 2013 with Creativespace Independent Publishing Platform (acquired by Amazon about six years ago) has been an international success and is said to be studied in schools.
Waheed also posts her work on Instagram.
Currently in Australia paperback copies are largely unavailable, except through Amazon of course.
In book format it runs to more than 200 pages, with a lot of blank space within that bulk.
Self-publishing avoids the editorial process. Nevertheless Waheed has still had to suffer rejection and criticism; as anyone who makes their work public does.
She says that she wrote to and for people of colour. This is a rising refrain from those who feel marginalised. But I would say that poetry is larger than that, and art's endeavour is to reach out to a common humanity. To stay within the constraints of a single culture is not what it does. Art is able to simultaneously build newness within a culture as it questions and dismantles accepted cultural norms.
Salt stings, enhances flavour, and it heals. It is an appropriate title for this body of work. 
Not all the pages of this book contain poems. 
                    you are
                    is not
                    you are.
                       - circumstance

This appears on page 22. It is not a poem. It is an aphorism; a clever and relevant aphorism.

 even the small poems mean something. they are often
 whales in the bodies of tiny fish.

She is right about this which appears on page 25. While again not a poem, it is a playful something to ponder.

There is no reason why a book of poetry cannot contain material other than poems.

Poems like this one on page 19 testify to her recognition that life is poetry and her ability to transcribe the poetic into words.

when your mother unbirths you
she smells swans in your skin
it feels like
she is
singing in salt.
her eyes carve you out of her body.
are a dream
this is a holocaust
winter birds
never know.
–– swans

Within this body of work there is so much unexpected beauty. Like salt, poetry heals.

Waheed has created a community of poetry. May she continue to grow in her abilities with language and observation. She has broken the rules, and she needs to keep doing that.