Updated: Sep 2, 2022
By Annie Newcomer:
The Flapper Press Poetry Café features the work of poets from around the world, celebrating the many creative voices who express themselves through poetry.
This month, we feature the work of German poet Döerthe Huth.
Dörthe Huth is a writer and psychological consultant from Germany, holding an M.A. degree in German, Psychology, and Computational Linguistics. In addition to several book publications about the joy of life, she is also represented by her poems and essays in anthologies and literary magazines. In 2017, she received a residency at the Soltau Artist House in northern Germany with a focus on poetry. You can find out more on her website: doerthe-huth.com
We reached out to Dörthe to ask her about her inspiration and influences.
FP: Dörthe, how did you come to poetry?
DH: From an early age, writing was my best way of reflecting things and getting clear about it. For many years I did not attach any importance to the poems I wrote. They were a kind of waste product, created completely by doodling in the annual calendar or as short notes on pieces of paper that ended up in the trash at some point. I did not think about publishing my poetry. A few selected poems found their place within my first books about the joy of life, and later on I got a request whether I would like to be part of an anthology project. From that point, I payed attention to publishing options, if I had the time.
FP: Why do you write it?
DH: There are many ways to express thoughts and feelings, writing poems is one of them. Poetry is a form of creativity, art, and self expression and can also be an attempt to understand people, nature, or life. Sometimes my clients don't really know how to describe what's going on inside them. When words fail, it is my part to help with comparisons, images, or words. Poetry can be a method of building inner connections, especially when something touches us and we want to find mindful expressions. I appreciate to immerse myself in the world of poetry, forget the time, and reflect on the world in an alternative way.
FP: What do you hope people will come away with from reading your work?
DH: Readers sometimes tell me that some of my poems express what they themselves feel but could not put it into words. This applies to grief, anger, and sadness, for example. I hope some of my poems can be a helpful resource for finding solace, for inspiration, or for getting involved. A poem can convey messages and awaken its own feelings, associations, and conclusions.
Sometimes my clients use the metaphor of wind to illustrate the effects of their difficulties. The wind of life sometimes blows very strongly, comes from all directions, and can blow us away. A small gust of wind doesn't usually knock us over, but the higher the wind force, the more damage can it cause. He can pull, blow away and even destroy, like problems sometimes do. My poem "Wind“ is a reminder to take a firm stand when it winds around us, as long as it doesn't hold us down. Sometimes it may be better to seek shelter, hold on to something, or be held by someone until the wind has calmed down. Then it's time to focus on yourself, refuel and move on.
The wind outside the door
the sowing and reaping
nourishing and withering
In the middle of the globe somewhere
I let the wind whistle around my ears
his labor moves me
more with each degree of hardness
the circulation whirls me up
I am dependent on the wind strength
and defy every storm
the rain joins in
I get wet
and would like to shelter
I'd rather hide away
the winds follow a pattern
flowing up into the atmosphere
it all starts at the equator
the center of the globe
a lull in the wind.
I made my first lyrical notes about plastic waste when I heard that living animals, little turtles, fishes, or frogs, which in China were shrink-wrapped in plastic key rings to be sold as souvenirs and good luck charms. Over time the poem grew, but always in different versions, it never seemed to be finished, and I did not know where to submit it. In most ecopoetry websites and magazines, nature is praised in wonderful words, less about problems than about beauty, uniqueness and idyll, and I often miss an ecological concern, a point of criticism, or a personal reflection. Not everything in this world is pleasant, beautiful, and desirable; for this reason the breaks in the relationship between people and nature for me also belong in poetry.
Mutation into Plastic Artworks
on heavenly beaches
Africa gatherers stranded flotsam perishing whales unmask
in Indonesia, tons of marine, litter-sealed animals vegetate
in China, on key fobs until they die in their excrements
recently, birds are nesting all over the world
on crumbling synthetic bags
the biology of brutalization breeds dead plastic animals
the crackling of a plastic bag never can
replace the rustling of a tree’s leaves
a plastic bottle can never
satisfy the hunger of a living being
and yet we drink with relish
fleece jackets from the tap
children play on green garbage dumps
on grass planting its roots in polymers which don’t rot
and the blocks the kids used to play with now gamble with their cells
plastic particles have settled in bones, in tissue, in stools
gradually replacing humanity
we mutate into plastic artworks
rigid and immobile but also immortal
soon we are not, anymore, biodegradable.
Some years ago, in 2017, I received a residency grant for the artist house Soltau in the north of Germany to work on my poems in peace. In the first few days in particular, the loneliness without my family in a foreign place was an acquired taste, and I had so much time to think about what was going on within myself. Exploring the Lüneburg Heath in the icy winter cold, there were hardly any people to be found. Some of the natural phenomena in the protected landscape area appeared fascinating, mysterious, and even a little scary. The poem combines observations, perceptions, and thoughts about nature with an inner struggle.
Evacuation from the Danger Zone
Fog lulls the damp moorland into slumber
as if the witches had cast
a protective spell about it
which could also be a curse.
The moon reflects itself
on the mudwater’s surface.
In the daytime, it absorbs the sky
and lets him drown during night.
The night slowly devours the day
and above and below remains secret.
Like the branches in the swamp
I'm stuck that night too
throwing my lifeline to the moon
hoping he’ll catch it
and move away with it
out of the mud and swamp.
Evacuation from the danger zone -
maybe on the next attempt.
Annie Newcomer teaches poetry classes at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Turning Point—a place for hope and healing for people suffering with chronic health problems. Her North Stars series shares interviews with poets and writers and Annie's own experiences through writing. Annie also helms the Flapper Press Poetry Café—dedicated to celebrating poets from around the world and to encouraging everyone to write poetry!
Flapper Press Poetry Café.
Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize.
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