Wednesday, 6 April 2016
The Migrant Ship (Melos) is now available from the publisher. As well as the title poem it contains other poems on the theme of migration and loss and I hope it represents an attempt to engage poetically with one of the most important of current political issues. Poets sometimes hesitate about writing 'political poetry' for fear of appearing strident, or even banal. (We can all think of poems that fit into that category.) But the idea that poets shouldn't write about politics would have mystified Milton, Marvell, Shelley, Yeats, Auden (not to mention a range of international 20th Century poets from Ritsos to Neruda) even though it was Auden who famously wrote "poetry makes nothing happen". Maybe it doesn't, in the sense of provoking events or actions, but it is part of our awareness of the world around us. It expresses a range of imaginative approaches to reality, it can show empathy and understanding, and all the things that the nastier political manifestations of our time seek to eliminate. Poetry, in fact, can be about anything it likes.