The book’s title can be read two ways. Impasse or contraction is one of them. The purging of all but essential matters is another. Each section in this poetry collection covers unique themes.
In Canticles, these ‘small songs’ celebrate the world given back after a life crisis. Wood bleeds where a branch was, then ‘ripples a beauty around it’.
In Seasons, the grief and birdsong that accompanied our spring lockdown descend into the ground of winter. A surgical glove ‘scrabbling in the dust’ bears witness to testing times.
With Departures, lost friends are remembered. The writer continues to address them as living. ‘Contraction’ comes to serve as a language for giving birth.
Oracles covers war, the ecological crisis, loss of insight for the fabulous – these touch wider matters. ‘Tongues quick now with a flame within will render dry stone into a speaking thing’.
The poem, Waiting Outside, was highly commended in the Bridport Poetry Awards of 2022.
“This is a book of thoughtful lyrics, grounded in daily life and human warmth…” John Freeman
“This is heart-work, soul-work, for both poet and reader. As Paul Matthews says… ‘the manner of our looking / leaves an imprint there’ and it is this sensibility that renders the poems both delicate and full with wisdom.” Kay Syrad
The book has five movements:
Conflagrations: The tongue is a fire, both for love and destruction.
Habitations: How can we feel at home if our things don’t speak to us or we fail to inhabit our moments?
Adorations: The women portrayed by Botticelli, Blake, Rembrandt and Vermeer step from their gilded frames and their light plays freely.
Dedications: A handshake is a holy place. Words are made new in our attention to each other.
Distillations: Dew gleams on oak leaves and the flanks of horses as the ‘I’ grows quiet. To speak the essential name of a thing is our peculiar pain and privilege.
“Rooted simultaneously in language and soul, these poems have an uncommon warmth that lies in the ‘heart tradition’ of English poetry at its best”. Jay Ramsay
Sing Me the Creation. Second edition (Hawthorn Press)
Order directly from Booksource or Contact Paul Matthews to order
Also available as an eBook.
“Your book is quite simply the best I have ever come across on Creative Writing. I think this is because it has a spiritual direction, and therefore makes senses overall. Most such books end up having no idea what it is all for. You show this, with great strength.” (Peter Redgrove).
Sing Me the Creation translated into Hungarian as Enekeld Meg a Teremtest (paidpagogos konyvek)
The Ground that Love Seeks (Five Seasons Press)
Contact Paul Matthews to order
Slippery Characters (Five Seasons Press)
Contact Paul Matthews to order
With My Heart in My Mouth, an anthology (Rudolf Steiner Press)
Words in Place (Hawthorn Press)
Two Stones, One Bird, with Owen Davis (Smith Doorstop)
Verge (Arc Publications)
Anthologies: Earth Songs (Green Books); Children of Albion (Penguin); C’mon Everybody (Corgi); PEN Anthologies 1974 and 1975 (Hutchinson); Transformations (Rivelin Grapheme); Into the Further Reaches (PS Avalon); Soul of the Earth (Awen); Diamond Cutters (Tayen Lane Publishing); At Time’s Edge (Vaughan Association); Poems for a Liminal Age (SPM Publications); Bridport Prize Anthology, 2022.