Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

The Poem - a Nose ahead although written in Dust

There are some connections worthy to be mentioned. Sonja A. Skarstedt who had a small publishing house devoted to poetry. Among the ones she published under EMPYREAL PRESS TITLES there were under among many others Dudek who also left behind some non fictional materials, including his diary.

Experiments in Banal Living, by Michael Andre
Fields of My Blood, by John Asfour
How We Negotiate, by Maxianne Berger
Fire and Brimstone, by Barry Dempster
The Caged Tiger, by Louis Dudek
The Surface of Time, by Louis Dudek
The Ultimate Garden, by Patricia Renée Ewing
In Mud Season, by Marcia Rajnus Goldberg
New Poems, by Yuki Hartman
Grounding Sight, by D.G. Jones
Wild Asterisks in Cloud, by D.G. Jones
[The Compass; The Mystic Beast and The Yoni Rocks]
by Stephen Morrissey
Mythographies, by Sonja A. Skarstedt
A Demolition Symphony, by Sonja A. Skarstedt
Beautiful Chaos, by Sonja A. Skarstedt
[Nature’s Grace, Memory House and Wading the Trout River]
by Carolyn Zonailo
The Space, by Patrick Borden
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, by Robert E. Sandiford
Saint Francis of Esplanade, by Sonja A. Skarstedt
Reality Games, by Louis Dudek
Louis Dudek’s 1941 Diary, edited by Aileen Collins
A New World: Essays, by Ken Norris

Given this connection, and it extends as well to Bernhard H. Beutler who did his Ph.D. about Dudek and introduced me to Sonja A. Skarstedt, it is most appropriate to bring this very influential lecture on imaginary poetry with a poem that shows that dust does play a key role. This can be linked later to the interpretation by Klaus Heinrich of the ancient tragedy of Antigone in his three lectures published under the title: "Das Denken und der Staub" (Thinking and Dust).


The Dust of NINEVAH

Take a handful of the dust of Ninevah.

In this dust are the once powerful, the rich the starving poor

The athletes and the invalids, the successful and the unsuccessful;

The gifted and the ungifted, the kings and the beggars;

All are here, mixed in this dust.

They are forgotten, and nobody knows their names.


In a few thousand years we too will be like these people

We too will be forgotten, and lie buried in the dust of time.


Louis Dudek, April 1, 1999


The Worst Crime

I see neglected limbs
in stationary trees;
corpses whose eyes protrude
in silenced shock,
whose withered feet
shall waltz no more
than the barren breeze permits.

The first glance insures
the shameless slumps
of those who’ve paid
society’s debt.

Did they murder?
Did they steal?
Lie... or cheat?
What, then?
(for surely these dead were guilty
of some horrible crime)

The Worst, you say?
They were Jews.

Sonja A. Skarstedt

(one of four poems written in response to Stan Asher’s course on The Holocaust, at John Abbott College, 1978-79; published in Octagon, 1981)



Poetry in my life

Poetry, one of the oldest flowers of this world, was already object of countless definitions and analysis by people who wanted to understand its essence or rather the reason of existence as well as also the reason of life. How it is similar to life itself, that resulted in many determinations; in numerous interpretations one gives poetry a secretive role. One connected poetry with deity, with the sky, one saw in it the enemation of the cosmos, even as poet creator of the world.

The biographies of poets fall to my feet like heavy drops of a sad rain, for grey is the rain and only rarely do the drops glitter. Always I have been impressed by the contrast between the messianic image of the poet, as it is attached to some people, and the often poor and curtailing real existence of poets.

Personally these definitions and theories of poetry do not touch me, except as writing exercises in emptiness. However what I know is that poetry has helped me to live, a half a century devoted to it almost exclusively. But I do not mean with that I emerged myself completely in poetry, in order to forget the poisoned reality. Rather I mean that poetry lies over a path which leads directly to the source of things. To that place where passion develops before it can become love for a single person; the entire notion of the unknown, which life clothes until it becomes fear of own death; and the despise for pettiness, indeed at times for the treacherousness of people before it becomes hostility and to personal distaste. The terrible anticipation of a catostrophe which you feel approaching transforms itself into a ‚holy touch, which captures body and mind’.  Or else“ the world reveals itself to you while at the same time it retains the various meanings to itself.…As a matter of fact poetry has given me many magic moments. Thus I see suddenly very clear, for example, how few objective unchanging things there exist finally. That life and death alone, perhaps…That same object or happening takes on in a different light, at a different moment a new value, and has other consequences, mostly upon different facts. This relativity runs throughout poetry, ruling in an almost natural way, then that is the call which to express is what poetry is called to do.

Poetry helps me and helps me to live, not because I believe, since things become what I make out of things in order to exist – “…upon such pretentious hope I do not rely upon…”- nor equally because I belong to an order which serves holy goals. It is because that I know, when poetry is there and close to me, even if it abandons me and I feel myself on my side the air despite being naked and shaking out of cold. Moreover I have learned and poetry has taught me, to present the sense of life as love for life.


Katerina Angelaki-Rooke                                         Athen den 24.Maerz 2002


From: further stone – large heart – modern Greek poetry,

selected by Kostas Giannakakos & Christian Greiff, Babel Verlag, 2002

translated: Hatto Fischer





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