Poetry alive or dead?


            Poetry: the very word can divide society. Some see it as an expression of free will, others see reading poetry as a chore, a drag. Is poetry still relevant in an increasingly digital and technological age? I would like to think that it is and that I am one of the many sources for sharing the work. What makes A New Ulster different is that we are not limited to just a hard copy but also exist as a digital body: we stand on both paths of traditional magazine and e book. Do we serve a purpose? I would like to think so; certainly our reading figures show that there is an audience for poetry and that there is a need for such outlets.  

             Poetry is as ever about the individual, the artist and their place in society. It is a celebration of their work and a window into their techniques. A New Ulster is open to experimental and traditional poetry styles and approaches. A reporter for the Washington Post claims that poetry is obsolete. I disagree. Poetry is not obsolete. It is still a relevant tool; a delivery for social criticism and nature. Poetry gives voice to our inner demons and brightest inspiration. It is true though that poetry books are scarce in many bookshops, however that is not because of a lack of demand. Rather the paucity of poetry in book stores is due to larger issues. We just have to look at the book shelves to see that Young Adult fiction, historical romances and action thrillers fill the shelves. At this time that is what the audience is buying so that is what gets stocked.

            Of course the journalist or blogger in question was debating the merits of American Poetry but the question is still valid. I believe that creativity and passion for the arts should be nurtured, and that we need to encourage poets, artists and writers. I do have fears for local poetry, as I have seen certain poets drop off the map. I have plans for 2013 which I hope will see the journal grow and develop. I attended the Intercultural Europe Assembly where A Troubles Archive was revealed. It will exist in both booklets and an online format. There were some criticisms delivered towards the project due to its use of established poets. I was glad to see one of the forgotten poets mentioned. A poem by Padraic Fiacc was read out in connection to the project. Why forgotten? Because their work has for one reason or another become hard to come by. James Simmons for example has a large collection of unpublished work left after his passing, none of it has seen print and his work with Rostrevor has all but been forgotten.

            Enough pre-amble! Onto the creativity!

Amos Greig

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