Magma is all about the mix. In each new edition, all kinds of poetic life can be found rubbing shoulders from all kinds of poets at different stages of their careers. So our theme of The Street seeks to echo and amplify that wonderful, vibrant, democratic hubbub.
We wanted to bring the street to life through as wide a variety of poems as we could find on the subject. And you did not disappoint us. Your street poems arrived in their hundreds and ultimately thousands. We received so many high quality ontheme poems that with regret we had to turn away some very good poems that simply didn’t fit the brief.
Once we’d made our final selection, the poems fell very naturally into seven groups. Our first group demonstrates that the art of the flâneur is as alive and well in the 21st century as it was in the days of Baudelaire or Frank O’Hara. The second group reminds us that the street exists not only in space, but in time, and stretches through many histories, whether social, political or personal. Thirdly, we have a set of poems that consider the lives of people for whom the street has become home, or who are in transition, or temporarily away from shelter. Next, we look at danger, and more specifically, sexual danger: the street is a place where anything might happen. Our fifth group pays testament to the power of proximity, focusing on neighbours and how these people — neither strangers nor friends — become a mirror to our own selves – sometimes bringing comfort, but also inviting unsettling connections and comparisons. Our smallest group is about love and lost love: the street as neutral territory, common ground, where love can be considered, escaped or advertised. We end with a series of poems about way-finding, where streets and our journeys through them are presented as metaphors for our lives and relationships. It’s a very fine collection of poems, and we’d like to thank all our poets for them as well as everyone who submitted such a wonderful variety of work.
We’re always looking to enrich the Magma mix, and so we invited this year’s outstanding crop of fifteen Foyle Young Poets to supply us with a new poem. We’re delighted to publish them here and we’d like to remind all our readers that youth is no barrier to publication in Magma.
We’re thrilled to have Simon Barraclough’s powerful dystopia ‘Brightness’ — a response to Byron’s ‘Darkness’ — which will be published in his new collection of poems on the theme of the sun, Sunspots. And we’re excited to offer readers an opportunity to get to know the dazzling range and invention of our Selected poet for this edition: Amali Rodrigo.
Some of our prose articles are more ‘street’ and less scholarly than perhaps you’ve been used to in Magma. We publish the results of our digital street survey to discover the meaning of poetry today in a single word. Read Nick’s article to find out which poetry tribe you belong to. We’ve road tested the Poetry School’s psychogeographical audio tour, Walking London, authored and narrated by Tamar Yoseloff, and written up the experience so you can take a stroll through hidden London with us. And we have a fine — and really quite scholarly — article on wit in poetry from the South African poet Finuala Dowling, which includes several writing challenges.
We hope you’ll find plenty to enjoy here, along with the opportunity to sharpen your wits, before you next leave the safety of your own home and take to the thrills and spills o.f the street.