In a recent BBC2 documentary on W. H. Auden and ‘The Age of Anxiety’, Poet Paul Muldoon reflected that Auden’s work reveals the ‘fragility’ of human societies, indeed of what we think of as ‘civilisation’. It was this insight that struck me as one of the reasons for the intensely therapeutic nature of poetry, both reading and writing it. For if poetry and poets help us understand the human condition and our own experience in the world, or as Muldoon has it, in the ‘moments’ in which we find ourselves, then it can help us to fully engage with the world, with our lives and with our authentic selves.
To do this, I am convinced we need to work with all shades of existence, including, as Jung maintained, the realm of shadow. For again it was Jung’s contention that denial of the shadow gives it tremendous destructive…
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just had two poems, ‘the miss of sisyphus’ and ‘from cave hill’ published this morning at the blue nib. check them out by following the link below. many thanks to shirley!
thanks to jason for publishing ‘from a kitchen on ravenhill’ over on vernacularisms; click the link below to read.
“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”
We live in a time when language is deliberately misused and manipulated – frequently for malicious purposes – to serve and support those in power. This is a time of ‘alt-facts’, an Orwellian landscape in which language is a tool of deception and demagoguery.
The cries against this state of affairs are often silenced or minimised precisely because there is a lack of available tools to articulate an effective challenge. Beyond the obvious decline of trade unions and collective action, there is also a lack of control over language itself; we are unable to change the terms of argument because we are not in control of the narrative or discourse in which we find ourselves.
The reason for this is two-fold.
Firstly, the mainstream media is controlled by elite corporate power – 6 corporations own 90% of the media in the USA, and just 3 corporations control 70% of the…
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reading recent articles and such on chinese migrant-worker poets, the poets and their work have profoundly affected me.
one article references time magazine, who published a piece on Xu Lizhi, a twenty-four year old poet who took his own life in the mega-factory zones of southern china, ‘the poet who died for your phone’.
so i know i’m not supposed to do this, but i’m gonna waive international copyright laws because, y’know, it was the top hit on google (and it’s decent quality);
i’ve been meaning to see this film for ages. so thanks oprah, you’ve ignited something.