by Richard Pithouse, The Mercury, January 2011
Whenever they find a reality that doesn’t suit them / they alter it with a bulldozer - Mahmoud Darwish, A State of Siege, Ramallah, 2002.
In his wandering exile he was able to visit Casa de Isla Negra, the cherished home of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. In a poem about his visit to Neruda's home he recounts his recollection, at Isla Negra, of a conversation with the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos in his home in Athens. He had asked Ritsos what poetry is and Ritsos had replied that it is the “inexplicable longing” that “makes a thing into a specter, and makes a specter into a thing. Yet it might explain our need to share public beauty.”