PAUL MATTHEWS worked for many years as lecturer, gymnast and community poet at Emerson College in Forest Row, East Sussex, U.K. In his student days at Sussex University he edited the poetry magazine, Eleventh Finger with Paul Evans and made contact with the lively poetry scene of the time, including the American poet Robert Duncan who particularly inspired him. His writing continues to appear in literary journals and anthologies, The Ground that Love Seeks and Slippery Characters (Five Seasons Press) being gatherings of his poetry. While still giving contributions at Emerson College, he travels widely, speaking his poems, and giving talks and workshops on a range of subjects.
Working first as a teacher of children, and then of adults, his interests opened into a wider concern for the life of language in home, classroom, workplace and everyday relationships. His two books, Sing Me the Creation and Words in Place (published by Hawthorn Press) are the fruit of that research. In them he combines the craft of writing with ‘spells’ for the freeing and schooling of imagination. In his work at Emerson College he (together colleagues) offered courses which, besides Creative Writing, included movement, speech, singing, drawing and nature observation. He continues to contribute to the School of Storytelling which is based there.
One of Paul’s urgent concerns is for children to meet living language and imagination in the classroom. He is a trained Steiner/Waldorf Teacher and his earlier work with young people informs what he does world wide with those studying to be educators. On his travels he is invited into schools to work with teachers, children and parents.
His insights into the relationship between word and world have been recognized by environmentalists as a vital support for enlivening perception of the natural world. Therapists, social workers, group facilitators have also benefited from his recognition that for words to be healing we need (through what the Buddha called a Path of Right Speech) to heal our own language. He contributed regularly to the Diploma for Training in Biographical Counselling.
Poetry and writers’ groups have welcomed him into their circles.
Paul is available to give creative writing, living language workshops and tutorials, poetry readings, and talks on a variety of subjects. Venues, where he has performed, include The Poetry Society; Cheltenham Literary Festival; British Haiku Society; Sussex University, Riverside Studios, and many schools, colleges, bookshops and libraries around the world.
Katherine Pierpoint writes:
Paul Matthews is a wonderful poet. He knows what is at the heart of poetry, and is attentive to what truly matters there. He is also a master-tutor – of writing, of word-play – and can draw the very best out of others.
Peter Abbs writes:
What I admire in your work, particularly, are three interrelated principles: that the word – whether written or spoken – is a living energy, that poetry is an imaginative discipline and that creative writing enhances subtle acts of healing.
From the introduction to Words in Place