of what good poetry is. Perhaps, though, there is the opportunity for creating the space in which, through mutual agitation, boundary testing and numerous poetries rubbing up against each other, we might work towards landing a set of shared values as a starting point. It’s worth a shot. And it’s for this reason I commissioned the rigorous and extensive intergenerational discussion between Odubanjo and Paterson. It is also for this reason you’ll find Declan Ryan mapping the career of Douglas Dunn, alongside Helen Charman celebrating the work of Bernadette Mayer, and Bidoon poet Mona Kareem, in dialogue with the translator of her first full publication in English, stating, ‘I want to write against every conception I had of poetry’.
Barry Anthony Finan seems to be challenging received conceptions of poetry with his positive, life-affirming new vocabulary, ‘WRRIGHHTINNGSERRSS’, some of which is showcased here. In other new work, you’ll recognise names such as Fiona Benson – performing exorcisms, Tim Liardet developing a new way of seeing and Simic himself, with what are maybe some of his last pieces of work. There’s also a number of debut appearances I hope you’ll find exciting – among them Simon Costello develops a ‘Folk Horror’ lexicon, Emma Jeremy articulates a beautiful type of wonky logic and Shannon SmithMeekings announces herself with five poems.
‘I have a new job which is to gather items / and collect them in this sack’ American poet Jenny George says, in her poem ‘Carrier Bag’. This might go some way to suggesting, in simpler terms, part of what I am doing here. ‘Corpses,’ writes George, ‘thunder, snakes copulating in a ball’, and I could continue – ‘rats assembl[ing] daisy chains’, ‘A bad penny’, ‘A memory of smoke’, the shape of this particular sack shifting to make room, to hold all these things and the poems to which they are attached in tension, ‘pounds and pounds of hurt’, ‘The tumour’, ‘Checkered Christ’, ‘bread and / butter’. Wayne Holloway-Smith