It was Adrian Mitchell who said “Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.” If you mean by ‘people’, their concerns, then recently this is not true. Take the poems in this issue, selected from a shortlist of over a hundred, which, in its turn, was selected from thousands of poems which Acumen receives every four months. There are poems on global warming, science, the pace of modern life, the Arts in their many forms, the value of a permanent place to call home, nature, as well as those poetic fundamentals birth and death. All these
subjects are ones which concern many people, are featured on endless newscasts and dominate talk shows in one form or another.
And mentioning love; after a dearth of love poems in the sense of a more universal love, rather than the pain of separation, love poems are again making their presence felt. But not just love poems, also poems full of hate, often irrationally focussed and ‒well I have to say it ‒often sadistically brutal in thought. As though the fragmetation of much of the world is fragmenting many people’s judgment and inner thoughts. Evil is creeping into poems as much as love.
So we need poetry and the Arts as much, if not more, than we ever did. It is this poetry, which is not ignoring what people feel and think about, which can help in the monstrous healing process necessary among people, communities and nations. As I tell people, I am not a poet, but a lover of poetry and I know that often poets put what I am feeling into better language, memorable phrases which flash ‘on that inward eye’, whenever I need to express some emotion or thought. At a recent debate on whether there was a point writing poetry which people do not understand, it was concluded that poets should not write down to their audiences, but deliberate obscurity should be avoided. It was said that audiences ‒even those who do not like poetry ‒react to simple verse with rhyme and rhythm. And there is a definite increase in this kind of verse in my inbox. Poets, as always, are rising to the challenge.