National publication for conservationist poet

Matt Howard has had his poem ‘The Pond’ featured in news magazine The New Statesman.

Matt, the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Poetry in the School of English at Leeds, works as a conservationist alongside writing poetry.

‘The Pond’ was published in The New Statesman’s 13 January edition. It tells the story of a duck awakening from winter:

Here’s the start of a new sense of things –
just into March, the light and air fuller
and that mallard, so still there at the edge,
her heaviness pending, neck stretched,
not at rest; she can only be considering
her own streaked reflection, herself, held there
in the shade, and in the clay-backed mirror
of water, with no call for contact or confrontation,
just caught in a glance of the ways things are;
meeting a fresh slant of our mirrored selves;
now surely this is how it all begins, continues,
as this one, then another and then another.

Many of Matt’s poems are inspired by “the more-than-human world” where he lives in Norfolk.

He said: “When writing, what I'm most after is something that works first as a poem. Though, as a conservationist, there's always a part of me thinking about what more can be done to reconnect us with the natural world, how to feel, think and maybe even act. 

“Of course, it's too grand an ambition to think that a poem, or indeed any work of art, can solve the nature and climate crisis on its own, but given that the arts are such an expression of how we feel and think, there’s undoubtedly a vital role in that space.”

Matt’s first full collection of poems, titled ‘Gall’, was published by the poetry magazine Rialto in 2018. He’s currently working on his second, ‘Broadlands’, which is due out next year – with a possible third collection coming after that.