What can poetry do?
There have been many who advocate art for art's sake, or l'art pour l'art, as the slogan was initially rendered in nineteenth century France.
There have also been many, and indeed there are an ever-increasing number, of artists (in the broadest sense) who see their work as a focus for, or extension of, their activism.
I feel fortunate to have had poems included in a variety of charity anthologies over the years, raising funds and awareness for Macmillan Cancer Support, Welney WWT and the Born Free Foundation, to name but three.
I am delighted to add another to the list in the form of Voices for the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2022), the new companion volume to For the Silent (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2019), edited by Ronnie Goodyer, Poet-in-Residence at the League Against Cruel Sports. These companion (or stand-alone) volumes have been produced to aid the work of this charity, and not surprisingly some of the selected poems concern animal cruelty. Others focus on habitats and the wonders and complexities of the natural world.
The new book includes poems by well-known names such as Margaret Atwood, Gillian Clarke, Pablo Neruda, Philip Larkin, John Clare, Mary Oliver, William Cowper, William Blake and Thomas Hardy, alongside a host of contributors who are part of the contemporary poetry scene.
Voices for the Silent costs £15 in Great Britain. Prices for other parts of the world are listed on the Indigo Dreams Publishing website. The book includes six wonderful pages of illustrations by Sam Cannon. The superb cover photographs are by Andy Parkinson.
Subjects in the anthology range from a
stag to a sparrowhawk, from a Chequered Skipper butterfly to an
elephant. My poem, 'Basking Shark Blues', was inspired by the brooding Hebridean waters
off the coast of Skye where I spent an evening watching one of these gentle giants of the ocean.
|Evening, Loch Scavaig, Isle of Skye|