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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, January 2024
Point of View, guest editorial by Mark Ulyseas.
It has been fourteen years traversing the aisles of the lexicon and confabulating with poets and writers from across the world. Love, hope and resignation woven into cloaks for those seeking to embrace the lyrical pitted against the vulgarity of violence. Some taking sides of the absurd and the incomprehensible, of historical hatred and exceptionalism.
And yet amidst the shake, rattle and hum, there have survived like blossoms between rocks, voices crying from the rubble of bombed out homes, voices of the dispossessed. They have been heard by scribes that feverishly trace their angst into words to reflect the futility of existing in ‘never’ land, land scarred by hate and cursed by a God who seeks vengeance.
Looking back at 2023 is like peering into the well of inhumanity, a telescopic wall of darkness with the reflection on the surface of its water of a clear blue sky is all that there is to comfort us.
Between the thousands of published pages of Live Encounters thrives the souls of writers and poets who have, in their wisdom, shared shamelessly their own worlds peppered with paradoxes. Their truths have become our awakenings. Their words and lives have become an immersive experience for the readers. An experience that raises, even higher, the point of the view of Life that changes with the rhythm of madness, a smudged painter’s palette.
The journey must continue towards nothingness. But on the way there will be forced stops, hesitations when confronted with the words of poets, words that challenge the ape within.
We must forget, we must turn our backs on a life worn thin by the abrasiveness of cohabitating with the ape to follow the pathfinders, the poets, to Blake’s Xanadu.
There are poets that extol the magnificence of Nature both in its wrath and glory and there are others that reflect the inhumanity of humanity. Both are two sides of a coin. One without the other ceases to exist on its own, for without death where does one find the beauty in life?
Poet Nasitur non fit – Poets are born, not made, is, for me, untrue. Perhaps poets are those that have discovered the light within. They seek through ‘structured’ words to present this to the world. Many have been lost in translation. And those that have survived the taunts of history are hidden away in books and bytes somewhere in the vastness of libraries and the Net. Their words are alien to those that do not speak in many tongues. What a tragic loss.
Live Encounters is ever grateful to the hundreds of poets and contributors as well as those who have penned the guest editorials for 2023:
Terry McDonagh (Founding Contributor), David Rigsbee, Dr. Salwa Gouda, Mark Tredinnick, Thomas McCarthy, Mary O’Donnell, Carolyne Wright, Eileen Casey, Dr. Colette Nic Aodha, Audrey Molloy, Lynne Thompson, Jane Frank, Lincoln Jaques (special edition of Aotearoa New Zealand Poets & Writers), Brian Kirk, Eileen Sheehan, and Anna Yin (special edition of Poetry & Writing English-Chinese Edition).
Our readers worldwide have been further enriched with the two special editions featuring Arab poets from Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Bahrain and Jordan, translated and edited by Dr. Salwa Gouda, an Egyptian literary translator, critic, and academic at the English Language and Literature Department at Ain-Shams University, Cairo.
A heartfelt thanks to Irish artist Emma Barone for her fabulous cover artworks.
In 2024, Live Encounters will continue this journey of sharing the works of poets and writers from around the world, thereby building more bridges to connect the kaleidoscope of cultures, one edition at a time.
Here is a message from the great Indian poet, Kabir Das*:
The moon shines in my body, but my blind eyes cannot see it:
The moon is within me, and so is the sun.
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; but my deaf ears cannot hear it.
So long as man clamors for the I and the Mine, his works are as naught:
When all love of the I and the Mine is dead, then the work of the Lord is done.
For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge:
When that comes, then work is put away.
The flower blooms for the fruit: when the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself: it wanders in quest of grass.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
*Kabir (1398–1518) was a well-known Indian mystic poet and saint. His writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement, and his verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib, the Satguru Granth Sahib of Saint Garib Das, and Kabir Sagar of Dharamdas. His poems are sung by Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, especially Sufis.
© Mark Ulyseas
Mark Ulyseas has served time in advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a freelance journalist and photo-grapher. In 2009 he created Live Encounters Magazine, in Bali, Indonesia. It is a not for profit (adfree) free online magazine featuring leading academics, writers, poets, activists of all hues etc. from around the world. March 2016 saw the launch of its sister publication Live Encounters Poetry, which was relaunched as Live Encounters Poetry & Writing in March 2017.
In February 2019 the third publication was launched, LE Children Poetry & Writing (now renamed Live Encounters Young Poets & Writers). In August 2020 the fourth publication, Live Encounters Books, was launched. He has edited, designed and produced all of Live Encounters’ 289 publications (till January 2024). Mark’s philosophy is that knowledge must be free and shared freely to empower all towards enlightenment. He is the author of three books: RAINY – My friend & Philosopher, Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives and In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey.