The feature poet for Catalyst 5 is US poet and peace advocate Sam Hamill. We quote him in the editorial:
“One thing we as poets can do is build stronger intercultural bridges. The better we know and talk with one another, locally and internationally, the more difficult misunderstanding becomes.”
“Inasmuch as our work demands the reinvention of ourselves, we must also thereby reinvent our country. And the world. Imagine a world without war.”
-- Sam Hamill
Sam founded a significant movement called Poets Against War after refusing an invitation to attend a White House function to celebrate "Poetry and the American Voice". As a pacifist, Sam felt he could not in good faith attend in the light of the USA's 'shock and awe' invasion of Iraq and what he sees as poetry's mission to spread international understanding. But instead of merely avoiding a conflict of conscience, Sam called on fellow poets to "reconstitute a Poets Against the War movement like the one organized to speak out against the war in Vietnam...to speak up for the conscience of our country and lend your names to our petition against this war”
The 'accidental groundswell' begun by this has seen the establishment of a website and what is now the largest anthology ever published with more than 20,000 poems from every corner of the Earth represented.
Catalyst 5 has endeavoured to uphold this spirit of peaceful international dialogue with our most international issue to date. From the editorial by Doc Drumheller:
This landmark 5th issue of Catalyst celebrates a United Nations of literature in its many forms. With poet and founder of Poets Against War Sam Hamill as feature writer, a haiku sequence from Ban’ya Natsuishi, the President of the World Haiku Association, a selection of Bengali Poets, including prominent Indian poet Prabal Kumar Basu and a special section of poetry from ten Cuban Poets. All this and work from more international writers, cross pollinated with established and emerging voices from all over New Zealand.
Last year I had the honor and great pleasure of participating in the Third Wellington International Poetry Festival with Sam, Ban’ya, Prabal and a cast of fine
Poetry is an important bridge. Our poetry absolutely blossomed in the last century, in a very large part thanks to the influence of poetry from all over the world. That cross-pollination is essential to us and to our allied poets abroad. We need to know what every "they" have to say. We need to reaffirm ancient values and the practice of compassion. We need to remind people lost in materialist culture that, yes, poetry matters—just as it always has. Maybe even more, because it crosses boundaries more efficiently than ever before.”
- Sam Hamill