is one of TPT's most multi-talented contributors: among other things she's an actress (remember Chocolat?), poet, translator and dream analyst. We are proud and privileged to publish The Magician in our winter (2012-13) issue – a poem taken from her forthcoming collection Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry). Hélène's poems are lush and evocative, and conjure up ancient archetypes and mythical dreamscapes. 


Can you remember the first poem you ever wrote?

Yes, it was called "Dreams of a Cocker Spaniel".

And how old you were when you wrote it?

I was about ten.

And what it was about?

It was about my dog. I lived at the foot of the mountains, near Geneva, and I just got this puppy I was spending a lot of time with.

Name a favourite poem or two . . .

"Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen": Rilke’s "I live my life in widening circles" from The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, “In The Arc Of Your Mallet” by Rumi, and "Lost" by David Wagoner.

. . . and a few of your favourite poets.

Rilke, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Aragon, Alberti, Lorca, Neruda, Machado, Cernuda, Breton, Cocteau, Éluard, Blake, Rumi, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Hafiz, David Wagoner, Lao Tzu, TS Eliot, H.D., Larry Levis, Hart Crane, Geoffrey Hill and Mallarmé.

Do you talk about poetry with your friends or is it a secret part of your life?

Of course, I’ll talk about poetry with friends – especially the ones who are poets.

Do you write poetry for yourself, or for others, or for both?

I mainly write for myself and yet connecting with others is vital. When I met John, my partner, we would write each other poems. 

Is it important to you if your poems get published or not?

It’s incredibly gratifying to get published and to be able to share one’s poetry and writings with a large audience.

Do you think poetry is important in the global scale of things or just a pleasant, indulgent hobby like needlework or trainspotting?

Poetry, just like other forms of literature, is important. It enriches our lives. Poetry expresses the indescribable. It is sublime.

What does poetry really mean to you?

Poetry is part of me. It’s a way to express who I am. I write as a form of self-expression, fulfillment, transcendence, healing, to transmute pain and experience into beauty. 

Is poetry better than sex?

I wouldn’t say that.

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