Acumen 95, September 2019
Poems: Jane Angué, Pallavi Deepchand, Ruth Taaffe, Barry Wilson, Tim Cunningham,
Hugh McMillan, Rebecca Gethin, K.V. Skene, Colin Pink.
Interview –Caroline Smith.
Poems: Caroline Smith, Rae Howells, Graham Mort, Paul Surman, Amanda Rackstraw,
George Freek, Adam Horovitz, Keith McFarlane, Mike Barlow, Dorrie Johnson,
Nicholas McGaughey, Chris Waters, Daniel Fraser, Seán Street, Shanta Acharya,
Poems in Translation: Domingos Carvalo Da Silva (trans. Richard O’Connell),
Pernette du Guillet (trans. (Nico Mann), Hugo Salus & Rainer Maria Rilke
(trans. Christine McNeill).
Poems: Jacob Lotinga, Virginia Betts, Philip Rush, David Callin, Lyn Moir, Edward Lee.
Poems: James Deahl, G.E. Stevens, Merryn Williams, Sally Sandler, Patricia Lafferty,
Margaret P. Houston.
The Real Lara – Roger Harvey.
Poems: Michael Henry, Peter Dale, Liva Jaunciema, Steve Denehan, Dorothy Baird.
Poetry in a Pickle – Paul Gittins.
Poems: David Perman, Matthew Page, Peter Ebsworth, Linda Saunders, Joy Winkler,
Christine Griffin, Cliff Forshaw, A.D. Harvey, Clive Donovan, R.V. Bailey.
Reviews: Keith McFarlane, Edmund Prestwich, Nick Browne, Roland John,
Glyn Pursglove, Leah Fritz, Fred Beake.
One of the good things about editing Acumen in the past few years has
been the amount of poetry I get from other countries. This has been
amazing, not only in content but in the friendships that the internet has
forged. I am ‘friends’ with poets from Beirut, Christchurch, China, India,
Taiwan, Rwanda and, of course, Europe, the United States and Canada.
On a personal level I get to know snippets of the poets’ lives from their
covering letters; snippets like the birth of a child, the death of a loved
parent, their family. This makes them poets and people, not just cyphers.
And then there is the poetry; often different in emphasis with stress on
the spiritual or local politics, concerns which cross boundaries like love
and loss, beauty and ugliness in the world, people’s jobs, their countries,
their views of the world. Unfamiliar names suddenly become familiar and
I look forward to opening their emails and catching up since their last
submissions. It has been an honour and a priviledge to get to know them.
Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that I cannot use their work,
heartfelt as it often is. The poet struggles to express him or herself in
English, not just with small errors which I can silently correct if I like the
poem, but with fundamental grammatical errors. To put these right would
be to take away the ownership of the poem, to deprive the poet of their
original thought and emotion. Sometimes they are struggling to say
important ideas from their beliefs, their mythology, their own
observations of the world. But it doesn’t come over and I have to turn
down the poem. It can be heartening in these circumstances when they
say they are going to be published in their own language so their thoughts
and ideas have an outlet.
This is why I often publish poetry in translation. Poets from early
Greek and Roman times up to the present day have expressed some of
the most beautiful and fundemental ideas in their own language and
thanks to skilled translators we can now read them in English. They
enrich our language and culture and for this we should all be grateful.!