The University of Lincoln hosted the launch of Hammond House Member, Paul Sutherland’s New and Selected Poems and I had the pleasure of being invited to read from this eclectic collection spanning a lifetime of creative work. Professor Jason Whittaker, Head of School of English Literature and Journalism, addressed a packed room at the university library before Paul read extracts from the book, which includes a fascinating collection of short poems inspired by a book of Ben Nicholson’s miniatures.
I feel we are often guilty of pottering around in the past or contemplating the future instead of enjoying the present; Paul’s poetry reminded me of what can be achieved when we allow ourselves to observe and enjoy the moment and how we can explore profound concepts using simple language. ‘Speak like a common man, think like a wise man’ - Aristotle
The extract I chose to read is from Red Hawthorn-Hedged .
When did I first long for the here and now?
I stared for miles from the rear side window
of my father’s car; saw the moon
for the first time as free
a winged-horse in silver disguise,
motoring as fast as dad’s Pontiac
far advanced in age. Comfortable
in that tasselled-textured backseat
I had no yearning to return home.
I filled up with all that I watched
the rear glass’ soft curve sharing
curved muscles of that night-galloper.
I begged the journey not to end.
Here I am, after decades of journeys
gazing from a train’s round-cornered glass
still hoping for non-arrival, the sacred
in-between-ness of here and now.
Paul Sutherland: Canadian-British poet and writer with seven published collections and editor of seven others. He’s the founding editor of Dream Catcher, a distinguished international literary arts journal. Paul won the 2008 Nassau Review (US) Poetry Prize for best poem submitted to the journal, came 2nd in the English Association Poetry Prize 2009 and was highly commended in Aesthetica Creative Works Competition the same year. A poem of his has been selected for the Olympics 2012. He runs creative writing workshops, seminars and personal tutoring, and is a frequent public performer of his poetry. A new full collection, Journeying, was published recently.