Introduction by Andrew Harvey - Excerpt 

This anthology, that I have co-edited with my friend Jay Ramsay, is the realization of a long, passionately held, dream—to offer to all those who want it an electric overview of the pioneering visionary poetry in English over the last hundred years.

As our world sinks deeper and deeper into moral and spiritual nihilism, lethal fundamentalism, economic, social, and environmental chaos and collapse, a small, scattered, largely obscure cohort of brave, wild, vulnerable, impassioned spirits has kept alive the flame of divine inspiration and so ensured that the most ancient role of the poet—to be a servant of divine truth and beauty and revealer of reality—has survived and even thrived, despite derision from official tastemakers who have outlawed the sublime, and despite a contemporary poetry world, addicted to cheap irony, unearned despair, bizarre pastiche, narcissistic confessionalism, and blindingly boring baroque word games. Diamond Cutters celebrates the illumined heroism of this band of lonely adventurers of the sacred heart and offers their testimony to the subtle splendors of spiritual knowledge and ecstasy to all those famished for truth in a world of lies. … 

Introduction by JAY RAMSAY - Excerpt

Why is poetry important, even essential, for us now ? And what part does it have to play in the wider culture of our time?

Answering this question is what has given rise to this anthology between Andrew and myself at this time, decided as we walked slowly up and down the long drive up to Hawkwood College in Gloucestershire, late one early September evening; the fields and valley below, the spread of the stars above.

Poetry has always held both the stories and the consciousness of the tribe, reaching deep into what we know as the Oral Tradition—and as Julian Jaynes suggests in his extraordinary book The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976) about language and prophecy, for longer than prose. Poetry and music both speak to the same part of the brain, which actually (as recent neuroscientific research has indicated) is a different part of the brain than prose speaks to. It is the lyrical, of course, and also the imaginal. It is the imagination, which gives rises to vision, which is central and at stake here.  As the saying goes

‘Without a vision, the people perish’