the inescapable truth

For me the concerns have always been human ones, and the poems attempt to honour those values that the twenty-first century's lords of lying, cheating and profiteering are bent on eradicating. I mean the ancient truths that grow out of our physical and not digitized selves - what it feels like to swim in the ocean, to watch a child come into the world, to sit in silence by a campfire, to keep a vigil at a deathbed, to be a creature of blood and flesh and time, to remember. Over fifty years ago, the American poet Randall Jarrell wrote of the fashionable taste of his age: "Ordinary human feeling, the most natural tenderness, will seem to many critics and readers rank sentimentality, just as a kind of nauseated brutality (in which the writer's main response to the world is simply to vomit) will seem to many critics and readers the inescapable truth."

Jarrell's point was accurate then and is even more accurate today. And essential. We're going to need all the ordinary human feeling we can muster as this century of mass conformity, consumerism and life-negation hurtles along.

- Tim Bowling, in the Preface to his Selected Poems (Nightwood Editions, 2013).

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