Paul St John Mackintosh


Paul St John Mackintosh was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and is currently working as a Humanities Editor on a Microsoft project. In addition to poetry, Mr. Mackintosh writes on cultural topics for newspapers and journals, including the Times Literary Supplement. He is also an Executive Committee member of the Translators Association of the Society of Authors of Great Britain. He is married to his Japanese co-translator, Maki Mackintosh née Sugiyama.

His first collection of poetry, The Golden Age, was recently published by Bellew Publishing of London, England, 1997. Some of his other works include Translations From Japanese (With Maki Sugiyama), The Poetry of Nakahara Chuya, Gracewing/Fowler Wright Books, Leominster, England, 1993, and Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, by Kenzaburo Oe (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1994), Marion Boyars, London/New York, 1995; paperback, Picador, London, England/Grove Press, New York, US, 1996, which was awarded the 1995 London Japan Festival Award for literary translation.

Mr. Mackintosh believes that "poetry is the highest form of language" and his "favourite poetic quality is imagination." Speaking of poetry in general, he says he loves "the most cryptic excesses of modernism, but also traditional forms and methods." Paul relates, "I don't much care whether anyone understands my poems, so long as they enjoy them."

A sample of his work follows. You can also learn more about Mr. Mackintosh and read more of his poetry by following the link to his web site at the end of this document.


Trakl Variations
(for James Wright)

Families gathered round their hearths
at Thanksgiving
commemorate your Promised Land:

Westward, red cloudstreets silhouette
towering mesas
at dusk in Hopi reservations
in Arizona;

the earth is the raw terracotta
of Poussin bacchantes,
long sunstrokes brush colours across
the Painted Desert;

rivers of turquoise barrel down
the Grand Canyon,
making stone chimes of the entranced
Petrified Forest.

While in the heartland, in New World ghettoes,
lost in American dreams,
black junkies crack ampoules of poison
down concrete holes.

Nimble as Cherokee steeplejacks
above Manhattan,
spiders spin cities in the dust
of ancient, dark cellars.

Wetback Hispanics crouched in pueblos
in Death Valley
quell hunger with the songs of Paz
or Vallejo.

Offshore, where Ahab's whale breaches,
Atlantic barracuda rend
jettisoned slaves.

Or Europe, where Man roamed the Alps
in holy terror,
asperged by the bronze angelus
of cowbells,

his head lost in Jehovah's clouds,
merciless God,
pulling graven tablets down from Heaven
for headstones.

Horn calls at Mass on St Hubert's Day;
the glowing cross
on the stag's crown, glimpsed through the trees
in the black forest;

confessional landscapes, valleys where,
brown friars crack innocents' skulls
with iron bars.

Blood and offal choke the blocks
in cobbled shambles;
Evil's chaste paladins ride by
in polished steel.

Under Caesar's or pontiff's thumb,
on golden sand,
lions' maws tear wet morsels
from martyrs' living flesh.

Coasting unsighted capes of night,
a lost corsair,
the new moon's crescent blade flashes
against cloud shoals.

The Ohio bears its freight of grief
towards the sea;
your memory, a stormy petrel,
broods on the waters.

Copyright © 1997 Paul St John Mackintosh


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A Little Poetry

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